Walter Wangerin offered a picture of what it is to honor your parents in a story he told some years ago at the first National Pastor’s Convention in San Diego. I listen to this sermon a couple of times a year. He tells the story of a friend whom he went to see after they had gone their separate ways. I recall him remarking about how bright his friend was but he went back home to care for his parents on their farm.
Mr. Wangerin tells of being awakened in the night by the shrills from his friend’s mother. He rushed down to see what the commotion was about. His friend’s mother was confined to a bed and may have had Alzheimer’s. Mr. Wangerin watched as his friend cared for his mother and sang with her. He described the picture much better than I. He noted well his friend’s actions reflected the sentiment of the charge to "Honor Your Father and Mother."
Some of us were a bit uncomfortable in Greensboro with the life size Billy Graham and the tribute to a man who likely would have had disdain for such a spectacle. Now there is more. It seems a dispute in the family over where to bury Billy and Ruth is under way. When I think of Mr. Wangerin’s picture of honoring one’s parents, I am sure it did not look like this.