Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Passing of a Saint


Time magazine on the last moments of Ruth Graham Bell:
... Three days later, Billy and their five sons and daughters were ringed around Ruth's bed, reading scripture, singing Great is Thy Faithfulness, a hymn sung by millions of people at Graham's crusades. Finally, at twilight, she took a few last breaths. Billy leaned over and kissed her cheek and her forehead. He asked his children to sing the doxology with him, and they struggled through it, praising God, "from who all blessings flow." The cat that has been shooed away from the bed for months was now allowed to jump on the bed and curl up beside her. And then the family lit a fire in her fireplace, just the way she liked it. "I know God has prepared a home for her in heaven," Billy told his friends at her burial. "I just hope she saves a room for me."

But it has become clear that a man who spent his life teaching people how to die, with hope for an eternal kingdom that is no longer a theological abstraction to him. Heaven is where Ruth is. "Someday soon I will join her," he says. "Most of all, I take comfort in the hope we can have of eternal like in Heaven because of Christ's death and resurrection for us. I've preached this message almost all my life, and it means more to me now than ever before."

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