- (Photo: Screenshot/'The Cross')
Billy Graham delivered what may be his last address to America last night in a short video entitled "The Cross," in which the world-recognized preacher asked America: "I know where I've come from, I know why I'm here, I know where I'm going, do you?"
Graham's message aired Thursday evening as the pastor celebrated his 95th birthday in Asheville, North Carolina with an estimated 900 attendees, including former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The 30-minute message was later made available for viewers to watch online on the My Hope with Billy Graham website, and will be made available in select broadcasting networks this weekend.
At age 95, Graham's most recent message has been dubbed as possibly being his last; the evangelical leader and former spiritual advisor to multiple U.S. presidents has suffered a series of medical ailments, including Parkinson's disease, in his old age. Graham's message in "The Cross" was one of both sadness and hope; the pastor lamented over how greatly America has distanced itself from God, and how he believes the nation is in "great need of a spiritual awakening."
"I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross [...] the real cross of Christ," Graham, who appeared impassioned even in his old age, said in the video. "I know that many will react to this message, but it is the truth and with all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth."
Graham then asked Americans to look inside themselves and to seek a revival in Christianity: "I know where I've come from. I know why I'm here. I know where I'm going. Do you?" the pastor questioned. Graham's address was also sprinkled with excerpts from his past sermons. "People don't want to hear that they're sinners. To many people it's an offense," Graham told his audience in the pre-recorded message. "The cross is offensive, because it directly confronts the evils that dominate so much of this world."
The evangelical leader also became reflective at one point of the address, saying of his life: "As I look back over my life, it is full of surprises. I never thought I would become friends with people in different countries all over the world."
In his younger years, Graham delivered live talks to thousands of Christians in cities all over the world, focusing his sermons on topics that included forgiveness, the end of the world, believing in Jesus while on death row, and the experience of true love.
Graham said in a statement prior to the Thursday release of "The Cross" that this most recent national address "may well be my last message to our nation." The 30-minute video was reportedly recorded over the past year, partly at Graham's personal home in North Carolina. The video also features testimony from Christian rapper LeCrae and singer Lacey Sturm.