I invite you to join me in a prayer adapted from one written by Janet Wood.
If prayer is not your practice, please remember Jean in your own way.
Not in the dark of buildings confining
not in some heaven light years away
but here in this space, the new light is shining,
now is the kingdom, now is the day.
God of promise and deliverance
We thank you that we are not confined by the space and time of our own mortality.
We praise you that, through Jesus Christ, a death, our death, is not the final word.
We give thanks that, in taking on human life, you take us through death into the safety of your infinite grace.
God of comfort
We give thanks that Jean grew into the certainty of your grace, that she left this life with some regret but not grief. We remember the so many ways in which she touched our lives, with her generosity, her hospitality, her wisdom, her concern. We give thanks that even today, when we mourn, her spirit is among us in the hymns and scripture passages she loved, which allow us to be part of her assured journey into the new life of the eternal.
We are here today,….family, friends, colleagues, fellow advocates for justice….we would have wished for more time with her but we celebrate who she was for each of us. Her gifts and graces remain, they are not lost to us.
God of eternal peace,
We pray for this world in which Jean fought for equality, justice and peace. We pray for a courage, like hers, to go from this place more determined to confront the evils which scar this world and diminish the lives of so many. Help us to mark this world with the sign of your peace.
God of justice
We pray, as Jean did, for peoples of the third world, for refugees and asylum seekers. Strengthen us to reach out, to share, to practice inclusiveness, and like Jean, who welcomed all, to embrace difference.
God of the faithful,
We pray for your church, in all its variations, and especially for the Uniting Church which Jean loved. May its pioneering vision not be filtered or diluted in the tiredness of time. May the gifts which Jean brought to it, an inquiring, critical mind, the practice of hospitality, concern for indigenous people, for refugees, for migrants, for women in need, may these be the concerns of our church, her church.
We will not touch or hug Jean again in this life. In time, the gap she leaves will be filled by memories of a gracious, interesting and interested woman, a wise woman, a wise woman of God.
She is now in a time beyond our time, in a place beyond our place, in the cherishing love of the God who is with us and beyond us.
Now is the kingdom; now is the day.