Last Saturday, Arizona Senator John McCain, 81, died from complications related to brain cancer. For years, McCain and his family had attended North Phoenix Baptist Church and the church hosted his memorial service on Thursday, where Vice President Joe Biden and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald were among the high profile speakers who remembered their friend.
The church’s lead pastor Noe Garcia, who delivered the opening and closing remarks, told CT Pastors in an interview that his goal was to honor the late politician while also “giving people the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“We sometimes make evangelism harder than it is, and we forget that the gospel can speak for itself. It doesn’t need our help,” said Garcia. “If I read John 3:16, that will be powerful enough.”
Garcia read more than John 3:16. He also quoted 1 Thessalonians 4:13–14, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, and John 3:16. Friend and activist Tommy Espinoza read 1 Corinthians 13:3 and 2 Timothy 4:6–7. And McCain’s children also read from the Bible: Bridget McCain, Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, and Andrew McCain, 2 Timothy 4:6–8.
On Saturday, the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, will host a national memorial service, where presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will speak. Daughter Sidney McCain will read 2 Corinthians 5:6–8 and current South Carolina senator and McCain’s best friend, Lindsey Graham, John 15:12–13 and The Lord’s Prayer.
Former New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte will read from Wisdom 3:1–5, 9. The book, the Wisdom of Solomon, is included in Catholic and Orthodox churches’ Old Testament but not included in Protestant churches’ Old Testament. Cardinal Timothy Dolan read from the same book at Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
Below are the passages of Scripture from McCain’s memorial services:
1 Thessalonians 4:13–14
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Corinthians 13:3
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
2 Timothy 4:6–7
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot.
2 Timothy 4:6–8
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
2 Corinthians 5:6–8
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.
For we live by faith, not by sight.
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
Wisdom 3:1–5, 9
The souls of those who do what is right are in God’s hand. They won’t feel the pain of torment.
To those who don’t know any better, it seems as if they have died. Their departure from this life was considered their misfortune.
Their leaving us seemed to be their destruction, but in reality they are at peace.
It may look to others as if they have been punished, but they have the hope of living forever.
They were disciplined a little, but they will be rewarded with abundant good things, because God tested them and found that they deserve to be with him.
A version of this article originally appeared at the Bible Gateway Blog.