Jade and Jesus

I was going to blog this afternoon on Jade Goody, but Cranmer has beaten me to it with this brilliant piece:

Nothing has become Jade Goody more than the manner in which she is leaving the world. Cranmer has known this, and has extended his hand to some of the world’s most noble and inspirational as they turned their mourning into rejoicing.

And let us rejoice that Jade Goody’s life has now found a purpose. In her final weeks it is reported that the publicity she has generated has already helped to save the life of another cancer sufferer. More importantly, she is saving souls, for it is also reported that she is ‘taking comfort in The Good News Bible, repeatedly reading a passage promising hope’. And she has decided to christen her sons Bobby and Freddie, so they know ‘Mummy will be in heaven and watching over them’. These young boys will soon have no-one to call ‘Mummy’, and there shall be no-one to wipe away their tears. So let no-one pour judgemental scorn upon the simplicity of this fragile faith.

As Jade Goody walks in the valley of the shadow of death, she will be weeping day and night, screaming at God with frustration, and angry with the world. She will be asking ‘Why me?’, as the Psalmist has done, pleading for this cup of suffering to be taken from her. She could have chosen bitterness and resentment and the path that leads to Hell. But she has turned to God ‘to help her cope’. She says:

“I’ve always thought there’s a God although I’ve never been a churchy kind of person but now I think, ‘Why not go to church?’ I’ve got a version of the Bible which is easy to read and I look through it when I’m feeling down. It really helps. And I’ve always prayed but now I do find it helps. Maybe the big man upstairs thinks ‘She’s a tough cookie, she can handle this. She’s watched her dad inject heroin, watched her mum do crack, she’s lost a baby, had boyfriends who’ve hit her. Yeah, she can handle this too.’ But I do think after this is over, God might think I’ve had more than my fair share to deal with.”

It’s a really challenging post and well worth the read. One of the commenters writes:

From what I understand of Jade’s childhood it should be no surpise to anyone that she came across so badly before this dreadful illness hit her. She had a very tough time.

Some people might mock Goody for what appears to be a death-bed conversion, a grasping at a delusional hope in the face of impending disaster, but I think I’ll leave the response to that perspective to someone else:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven … Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

Jade Goody may very well have been a woman who in her life lived for herself, but if God chooses in her death to glorify Himself and the wonders of His grace by saving her, a wretch like you and me who deserved no such favours, then I for one will praise him for it. In her last few weeks Jade is literally becoming a martyr, a witness to the power of God to redeem the vilest offender, and in doing so we his creation are reminded once again that salvation is entirely through the merits of Christ, so that no-one may boast.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, refresh me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Let me never be separated from you.
From the power of darkness defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you,
that with your saints I may praise you
for ever and ever.
Amen.

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  • Robert Simpson

    I wouldn’t exactly call her “the vilest offender”, although I dare say that’s not what you meant, Peter. As for death-bed conversions: there is no need for people to be cynical about them; perhaps some  people may do such things for unworthy reasons (and let’s face it most people’s motives are pretty mixed even at their best moments) but I would say in more cases it’s just that the approach of death, if foreseen, is naturally likely to get people thinking seriously about religion etc. even if they were not in the habit of doing so previously. The various distractions the world can offer, and in which it is so tempting to immerse oneself, can more clearly be seen in such circumstances for what they are -pointless. I think I remember Screwtape giving advice to the novice tempter not to let his charge get into such a situation!

  • John Foxe

    Dear Robert,

    it’s a quote from a hymn ‘the vilest offender that truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives’.

    And yes, repentant sinners coming to Christ will come to see themselves as ‘the vilest offender’.

    And no, Peter doesn’t see Jade as the vilest offender. I expect he thinks he is. Except he’s wrong. I am.

    Regards,

    JF.

  • Robert Simpson

    No, *I’m* the vilest offender . . .

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    No Robert, you’re just Spartacus.

    Yes, I’ve already grabbed my coat on the way out…

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