America’s Pastor – Billy Graham

America’s pastor, the Reverend Billy Graham, was laid to rest last week.  More than 2,000 people attended his funeral held in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He was buried beside his wife at the foot of the cross-shaped brick walkway in the Prayer Garden on the northeast side of the Billy Graham Library.

Over his 70 year career, Graham wrote dozens of books, delivered sermons to over 200 million people and provided spiritual consul to presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. A simple farm boy hailing from North Carolina, Graham eventually traveled across the nation—and the world— over his lifetime.  Los Angeles was among his many stops, and on a visit in 1958, he toured Forest Lawn in Glendale to see its world renowned inspirational works of art.

One work of art, Jan Styka’s “Crucifixion” painting, left and an indelible impression on Graham.

Years later—1998 to be exact—Forest Lawn was contacted by the Billy Graham Center Museum in Wheaton Illinois about taking a large photograph of the “Crucifixion” for their “Walk through the Gospel” exhibit. Contracting with a local film studio that made backdrops for movies, they came away with a quality image that allowed them to produce a print that would measure 30 feet wide by 12 feet high.

You may see the full size original rendition of Jan Styka’s “Crucifixion” painting—which measures a colossal 195 feet wide and 45 feet high — for yourself daily at Forest Lawn-Glendale. Consider making a visit especially as Easter is approaching.