This past weekend, thousands of mourners lined the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, as the body of famed evangelist Billy Graham was moved to his childhood home. Graham’s body was transported through many of his most traveled streets, finally coming to a stop at the Billy Graham Library, the grounds of which contain his childhood home.
“My father Billy Graham made me promise long ago that we would take him back to Charlotte after he died, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing right now. The outpouring of love we are seeing as we travel from Asheville to Charlotte via the motorcade with him is overwhelming,” the reverend’s son, Franklin Graham, wrote in a Facebook post Saturday.
“People lining the streets, the overpasses—whole families, young and old, some holding signs, some holding up their Bibles,” he continued. “We are so incredibly touched. My father would be humbled and honored. He would want all the glory to go to God. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Franklin posted another update Sunday evening:
“Yesterday, the hearse carried my father’s body one last time on the Billy Graham Parkway in Charlotte. When we arrived at the Billy Graham Library, the casket was quietly carried through the cross-shaped entryway by six grandsons, including two of my sons. Then our extended family had prayer together.”
Franklin went on to explain the significance of the cross-shaped entrance to the library.
“All who enter the Billy Graham Library come through the cross,” he wrote. “This is designed to symbolize that all who enter into a relationship with God must come ‘through the Cross,’ by believing in Jesus Christ who took our sins to the cross, died, was buried, and arose triumphant over death on the third day. That is the Good News my father preached for some 80 years.”
The heartfelt post included several telling photos depicting just how loved the late Rev. Graham was by his Charlotte community.
“I want to thank each and every one of the thousands who came out today to pay their respects to my father Billy Graham along the motorcade route from Asheville to Charlotte, NC. Words can’t express how our family was moved—it is something we will never forget,” Franklin wrote in a separate post.
“My father would have been in disbelief. Our gratitude to all of the fire departments and local police departments who came out, and special appreciation to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol who did such an incredible job making this possible,” he added.
Billy’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, paid tribute to her late father and issued a call for more to come to Christ following his passing.
“My prayer…is that his death will be a rallying cry,” Lotz wrote in Facebook post Friday. “That tens of thousands of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and ordinary men and women will rise up to take his place. That they will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to those with whom they come in contact.”
“Because Daddy’s message is God’s message. And it’s a message of genuine hope for the future, of love for the present, of forgiveness for the past,” she added.
Rev. Graham’s funeral is due to be held at the Billy Graham Library at noon this Friday, March 2, and will be attended by more than 2,000 people, including President Donald Trump.
All other living presidents are set to pay their respects, although a spokesperson for the Bush family said that former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura will be unable to make the ceremony due to a previous commitment, and will, therefore, come to Charlotte on Monday to pay their respects.
On Sunday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association released a video of the evangelist’s grandson, preacher Will Graham, giving a powerful overview of the late minister’s message of hope to the nations.
“My grandfather preached all these years so that you could know that you can have your sins forgiven.” Will Graham says in the video. “I want you to know that you too can know Jesus Christ.