The announcement of the death of Billy Graham came as a shock to me in some ways, even though he was aged 99. He was one of those people who you might imagine might live forever, such was his imprint on the western world from the 1950s onwards.
Listening to a phone-in show on the radio this morning, the subject of Billy Graham came up just as I switched on, and it is clear that listening to the testimonies of those that knew him, he was a man not just to be respected but even loved. One of those testimonials stated that what he said he lived - Billy Graham had complete integrity.
For my part I think he helped enormously to re-awaken people to the existence of religion and God in a new way. I know of quite a number who followed the gospel he taught and the way of life to accompany it to considerable success.
However, it is doubtful that Billy Graham did anything to bring the world's attention to the fact that there is only one God, a God that can be called different names but to whom all paths lead. Billy Graham's preachings were entirely about Jesus and the view that Jesus came to save, but taught in a way that continue to cause people to think that Christianity is in some ways superior to other teachings, or paths.
But having said that I feel, as a westerner, that Billy Graham made a positive contribution to the world in his sincerity and the way he lived. I am sure he felt that he was seeking to help people and not to put them down.
I would pray that his zeal is carried through to us all but modified so that we can see the Truth and Unity in Diversity.
Thank you for reading this.