Eugene Peterson: A Memorial Tribute


On Monday, October 22nd, 2018, Eugene Peterson, translator of The Message Bible, passed from this life to the next. In a public Service of Witness to the Resurrection on Saturday, November 3rd, Pastor Eugene’s long life was celebrated at First Presbyterian Church of Kalispell, MT.

For the countless number of men and women who were touched by the words and works of Eugene Peterson, and could not be there in attendance, here is (see link below) the memorial service in its entirety.


For me, as I watched the video, there were so many poignant moments…so many treasures worth reflecting on. A favorite was when Eugene’s son, Leif, talked about his father’s one message; this one core truth, which Peterson taught again and again to both his children and to his congregation:

God loves you. God is on your side. God is coming after you. God is relentless.

Eugene’s other son, Eric, offered an amazing homily entitled Containers, while Pastor Andy Wendle reminded us of one of Eugene’s favorite texts, John 1: 14…

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out true from start to finish.

Amen. Godspeed, Eugene Peterson. Godspeed!

(please note: the live stream video ran approximately 3 hours and 19 minutes, but you can skip to the 1:38:35 mark where the actual service begins)

EUGENE HOILAND PETERSON November 6, 1932 – October 22, 2018

Then he took his final breath. He died happy at a ripe old age, full of years, and was buried with his family.~Genesis 25:8 (MSG)

Piano Prelude: Nocturne in E minor, op. 72 no. 1 (Chopin)  Sadie Peterson

Processional: O God Beyond All Praising  Bonnie Robinson

Greeting, Welcome, Sentences of Scripture & Prayer  Eric Peterson

Hymn: Come, Thou Almighty King

Reflections  Leif Peterson, Andy Wendle, Drew Peterson, Tracie Bullis

Hymn: Shalom


Scripture Reading: II Corinthians 4: 13 – 5: 8

Homily “Containers”  Eric Peterson

Silent Reflection

Prayer  Ken Peterson

Hymn: Maranatha



Recessional Hymn: Lord God, Now Let Your Servants Depart in Peace

ep1“In my end is my beginning.”~T.S. Eliot

Monday, October 22, The Year of our Lord, 2018

Dear friends:

The lantern that has been burning brightly on the shore of Flathead Lake all last week—a sentinel witness to the life-light of Eugene H. Peterson—was extinguished today at 6:30 am Mountain Time soon after Eugene took his final breath and commended his spirit to Christ his creator, his beautiful savior, and the forever lover of his soul.

During the previous days, it was apparent that he was navigating the thin and sacred space between earth and heaven. We overheard him speaking to people we can only presume were welcoming him into paradise. There may have even been a time or two when he accessed his Pentecostal roots and spoke in tongues as well. Among his final words were, “Let’s go.” And his joy: my, oh my; the man remained joyful right up to his blessed end, smiling frequently. In such moments it’s best for all mortal flesh to keep silence. But if you have to say something say this: “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

It feels fitting that his death came on a Monday, the day of the week he always honored as a Sabbath during his years as a pastor. After a lifetime of faithful service to the church—running the race with gusto—it is reassuring to know that Eugene has now entered into the fullness of the Kingdom of God and has been embraced by eternal Sabbath.

We wish to express our profound gratitude for the ways you have entered into solidarity with us in vigil these days; we felt sustained by the prayers of the Body .

His funeral will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Kalispell, MT.

With full and overflowing hearts, we give thanks for the gift of his life, knowing that his joy is now complete.

Grace and peace,
The family of Eugene H. Peterson


Regent College, where Peterson taught for many years, is making available for FREE (through November 30th, 2018), downloads of some of Eugene’s finest teachings at Regent. Click here for the details!