Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played the title character in the Oscar-winning film Black Panther, died last Friday at the age of forty-three. He died in Christ.
Boseman drew accolades for his depictions of Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, and James Brown.
He died on the fifty-seventh anniversary of the March on Washington and the day baseball honored Jackie Robinson.
In his memory, ABC showed Black Panther commercial-free last night. One person said of him:
“He played icons and now has become an icon himself, and his legacy is one for the ages.”
He filmed Black Panther in 2018, reprising the role in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame (the latter became the highest-grossing movie of all time).
He starred last year in 21 Bridges and then in the Netflix war drama Da 5 Bloods.
We now know that he made each of these movies, as his family stated, “during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.”
Chadwick Boseman died of cancer, but he died in faith.
Rev. Samuel Neely, the pastor who baptized Boseman as a child, said the arts were always part of his life, singing in the church choir and producing plays in high school.
According to Rev. Neely, Boseman continued to live out his faith as an adult.
“I feel like it’s because he had God in him that he was able to make it through this.”
In a speech last year, Boseman thanked actor Denzel Washington for providing a scholarship that enabled him to study one summer at Oxford University.
He ended with this benediction:
“May God bless you exceedingly and abundantly more in what’s in store than he ever has before” (paraphrasing Ephesians 3:20).
Another instance where Boseman expressed his faith in Christ, was at the 2018 graduation ceremony of his alma mater, Howard University.
In his 2018 commencement address at his alma mater, Howard University, he quoted Jeremiah 29:11, which states:
“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
He then said:
“Graduating class, hear me well on this day … You would rather find purpose than a job or career.
Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you.
It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. … The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
“When God has something for you, it doesn’t matter who stands against it, God will move someone who is holding you back away from a door and put someone there who will open it for you if it’s meant for you. …
If you are willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that has ultimately proven to have more meaning, more victory, more glory, then you will not regret it.”
Chadwick Boseman’s death came too soon. But not before he discovered his purpose in life.
Biblical scholar William Barclay noted “There are two great days in a person’s life—the day we are born and the day we discover why.”
Friends and family of Chadwick Boseman can take solace in the fact that he discovered his purpose before passing on to glory.