Christians Great and Small

Billy Graham played no role in my life, but Irene Morrison was a towering figure.

Friday morning was the memorial service for Irene Morrison. A couple hundred people attended the event which was held in a little country church a hundred miles from nowhere, and open to anyone who knew and loved her. In the pews were children, farmers, nannies, retirees, and even a blogger—a B-list of normal and unknown people.

 

Friday morning was the funeral for evangelist Billy Graham, one of the most famous men in the world. Two thousand people attended the invitation-only event. On the guest list were presidents, cardinals, celebrities, and megachurch pastors—an A-list of significant and accomplished people.

Friday morning was the memorial service for Irene Morrison. A couple hundred people attended the event which was held in a little country church a hundred miles from nowhere, and open to anyone who knew and loved her. In the pews were children, farmers, nannies, retirees, and even a blogger—a B-list of normal and unknown people.

Billy Graham played no role in my life, but Irene Morrison was a towering figure. Her son, Paul, was my childhood best friend and from six or seven years of age, Irene affectionately referred to me as her “third son.” I was already the son of a devoted and godly mother, but loved Paul and spent so many hours in his home that it almost was like I merged into his family. I even spent a whole summer with them when my family moved overseas and I just couldn’t handle the culture shock. At many points in life Irene was another trusted, mature, Christian voice who spoke with wisdom, who modeled godliness, and who displayed a great love for Jesus.

Her memorial service, following her sudden and unexpected death, was an occasion of both grief and joy. It was the very best balance of mourning a deep loss while recounting abundant evidences of God’s grace in a life. Her two sons, her husband, and her pastor all paid tribute to her. Afterward, many conversations recounted her influence. And through it all, three themes surfaced again and again.

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