Reverend Billy Graham is being laid to rest on Friday in a more modest method than a person might expect for the internationally-recognized pastor. The body of the man who influenced millions of people through his preaching will be placed in a “simple casket” which costs less than $200 to construct.
“A simple casket for a simple man with a profoundly simple message of God’s love: That’s what visitors will see when they pay their respects to Billy Graham,” reports Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
According to the report, the humble reverend will be laid to rest in a “pine plywood casket, crafted in 2006 by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana.”
The Daily Caller reports the son of “America’s Pastor,” Franklin Graham, chose a humble casket for the humble pastor:
The legendary Christian evangelist passed away last week at the edge of 99. Graham will exit this world the way he entered it, in complete humility. Thousands will view Graham’s casket lying in honor at the US Capitol Wednesday and millions more will see images of it. Even though the casket is resting in one of the highest places of honor in our country, the casket itself tells a story of the man inside.
Few know that the casket was crafted by prisoners. Hardened criminals in Louisiana built the casket at a cost of less than $200. They nailed a handmade wooden cross to the top of it and the Graham family thought it was a perfect final vessel for their father.
The casket was picked out by Billy Graham’s son Franklin. Franklin commissioned the prisoners to build the casket, saying, “Billy Graham is a simple man who preached a simple message. He must be buried in a simple casket.”
Here’s more, per Billy Graham:
The plain wooden caskets caught Franklin Graham’s eye during a 2005 preaching engagement at Angola. That’s when he saw the inmates hard at work crafting them, and he soon learned why. The initiative began when then-warden Burl Cain discovered many of the poorer inmates were being buried in cardboard boxes.
As a result, Cain had the inmates construct plywood caskets for themselves and others who couldn’t afford one. In addition to making the caskets, the prisoners—many of them former hardened criminals who are now committed Christians—also pray over them.
Franklin Graham was struck by the simple and natural beauty of these caskets and requested the prisoners design and build two of them for his parents. Billy and Ruth Grahams’ caskets were built by inmate Richard “Grasshopper” Liggett, with the help of others. Their names are burned into the wood.
Graham will be buried next to his wife in the Prayer Garden of the Billy Graham Library during a private funeral service held in Charlotte, according to the report. Graham’s wife, Ruth Bell Graham, often visited the inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary and subsequently helped those who were released after their sentence. She too was buried in her Angola-crafted casket in 2007, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reports.
Check it out:
Many people have asked me about my father’s casket. In this short video, my son Roy shares the story and we have footage of the casket being handmade by a convicted murderer named “Grasshopper” at Angola Prison in Louisiana.
Posted by Franklin Graham on Thursday, March 1, 2018