Thousands gathered for Tim Keller’s memorial service. More than 2000 people, the majority of whom are protestants gathered Tuesday to bid a final farewell to the influential evangelical author and pastor Tim Keller who died at 72 on May 19 after a long-battled pancreatic cancer.
The memorial service referred to as a “worship service to God for Tim Keller’s life and ministry” was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. It was also streamed live on Keller’s website.
The service was rooted in thanksgiving, selflessness, joyful confidence, and, a celebration of Tim Keller’s legacy of faithful service.
“What are we here to do this afternoon? After the death of Christian, we unite to do two things always,” he said. “First, we thank God for his life, for God’s goodness in lending him to us for the years that we had with him. Secondly, we seek God for our life, for his comfort and presence. … We need to get what we need from his Lord so that we can continue to live our lives in this world with confidence and with joy,” said Tim Keller’s middle son Rev. Michael Keller.
Keller noted that his father had meticulously planned out his own memorial service. Each hymn and the sequence of the hymn had been specifically and deliberately chosen by him. The late Keller had also provided a short, written commentary for each hymn.
As quite unusual, the service consisted of five scripture readings, including readings from “Mere Christianity” and “Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis. It also includes a homily given by the Rev. Sam Allberry, remarks from his wife Kathy Keller, and her sons.
“You may have noticed this isn’t the usual sort of memorial service,” Kathy Keller said.
“That’s because Tim wrote it himself, just the way he liked to do funerals for other people,” she continued. “You mention the dead person, certainly, but then you talk about the God that person is now facing. So, blame Tim if there aren’t videos and choirs and lengthy testimonials.”