Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jade Goody dies and passes into glory

There will be no more night, no pain, no sorrow or shame: the suffering is over. At the tender age of 27, Jade Tweed, mother of two, married for just 27 days, has died and passed into the holy light of paradise to sing the song of peace and glory. She is now with her Lord and Saviour, according to her faith, just as he has promised.

There were tears and sadness, but she wanted to be remembered for the laughter she brought. There will be very many who do not care, for who was she to them or they to her? There will be some who are relieved at her departure, sickened by the incessant, trivia-obsessed voyeurism of the tedious red-top notion of dumbed-down celebrity. There will be those who scoff at the paucity of her biblical understanding; who question the validity of her repentance and the efficacy of her death-bed baptism; who pour scorn upon her imperfect grasp of the soteriological and theological imperatives. They will doubtless make themselves known in the ensuing thread to this post, or in another place.

But there is also her family: her two sons, her husband, mother, stepfather, grandparents and friends. They did not ask to be thrust into the spotlight of perpetual scrutiny of emotional invasion. They are a family in grieving, and it is incumbent upon Christians to weep with those who weep.

It is curious how the death of a media creation has the capacity to inspire collective compassion, almost national mourning. If Kermit had died, the grief would be no less. It is consistent with the age of ‘feeling’; the emphasis on the spiritual; the zeitgeist of Dianafication.

Yet Jade Goody was no Princess of Wales. She had no palace in Royal Berkshire; just a house in Essex. She did not inherit vast wealth; she struggled to make ends meet for most of her life. She did not consort with kings and presidents; she was the daughter of a convicted criminal who died of a drugs overdose. She did not so much live like a candle in the wind as a foot in a cowpat. And the tabloids loved it: she was ridiculed for her ignorance, criticised for lewd dancing, derided for her drunkenness and shamed for her ‘racist’ bullying.

She did not win ‘Big Brother’, and yet her fame has spread far more than anyone who ever has. She thought she might earn her Warholian 15 minutes of fame, but was soon to discover that it was to last for the rest of her life.

A life that was destined to be tragically ever so brief.

Cranmer is fully aware that some of his readers and communicants will be thinking that he has lost it: this not religio-political; Cranmer has morphed into Dale; he has abandoned his thoughtful and erudite musings for the politics of gossip and social commentary.

Nothing of the sort.

Let us not forget that this was the young woman whose casual reference to ‘Shilpa Poppadom’ on national television caused an international outcry, gaining absurdly disproportionate coverage in the Indian media. It was the moment when reality television began to set the political agenda. Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was visiting India at the time, condemned her behaviour for damaging relations with India and undermining the perception that Britain is a country of tolerance.

He probably had no choice. And yet Gordon Brown could now learn so much from Jade Goody, for in her living she was vibrant and in her dying she was authentic. While he evades the issues and laboriously ponders his words, she was direct and told it like it was. Of all the failings which beset the modern political class, it is the perception of the almost total absence of honesty and authenticity which is proving so corrosive to political discourse.

It is probably true to say that, had Jade Goody stood for Parliament, she would have won in almost any constituency. Politics has ceased to be about government, and the ‘soap opera’ has infinitely more to commend it. And politicians ought to ask reflect very deeply upon this and ask themselves why.

Jade Goody so very subtly entered the hearts of all those who have followed her tearful traumas and debilitating trials. Cancer is a monstrous demon, and it is heartbreaking to have to watch anyone be consumed agonisingly by its remorseless strangulation of life. Yet her dignity in dying has accomplished more for the common good than a thousand obscure and unheard-of members of parliament have ever accomplished.

Cranmer would have preferred Jade Goody MP to one of ‘Blair’s babes’ any day, whatever party she stood for.

Who would have thought that the Lord might have made her notorious in order to make use of her fame? Who would have thought that he might have chosen such an unlikely vessel to tell the world of his love; to remind us that he died so that we might live; that he paid the price that we may enter the Kingdom prepared since the foundation of the world? She ran the race, tasted the Passion, and kept before her the ultimate prize of her redemption.

God’s ways are not ours. Max Clifford now has had an ‘exclusive’ divine appointment to tell the world of Jade Goody’s salvation. And by speaking of her corporeal suffering and her spiritual peace, he preaches Christ and him crucified. And his audience is global – from the USA and South America, through the UK and Europe and on to India, the story is that of the first star of reality television having found Christ: of turning from her old life to that of the resurrection; of reading the Bible, placing her trust in the Lord, repentance, baptism, and now glory.

Like a little child, Jade Goody embraced the Christian faith like her Heavenly Father intended. And the moment she did, she was forgiven her past, cleansed of her sin and was born again.

In paradisum deducant te angeli,
in tuo adventu
suscipiant te martyres,
et perducant te
in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere
aeternam habeas requiem.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace's quotation of the papist Mass for the Dead does make me wonder whether HM The Queen was right to torch you. Or have you recanted your recantation?

(Actually, the Latin is a lovely citation, and while I found this young woman Jade vulgar and silly, she was no more so than untold numbers of young Britons today; and if her dying points some to Christ - laus Deo. I will pray today for her husband and children.)

22 March 2009 at 09:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goody only will pass into glory if she was right with God sad to say.
Lets hope she was.. as people think her cancer was bad, hell is a lot worse.

22 March 2009 at 09:49  
Anonymous len said...

Shame about the lapse into romanism. I thought his Grace had his fingers burnt by the papists once before?

Jade Goody ,once despised ,met her end with great dignity and courage.
God rest her soul.

22 March 2009 at 09:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will be ptayed for today, Jade. And your family.
Rest in Peace, God Bless.

22 March 2009 at 09:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


22 March 2009 at 09:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aw bles the boys, rip jade x

22 March 2009 at 10:13  
Anonymous Preacher said...

I didn't meet Jade in this life, but I prayed for her every day for the last couple of months, sometimes several times a day, she wasn't healed, but she did come through to faith & eternal life, that I believe, because the one who promised is faithful even when we are weak He is strong & will not break His promise that whoever calls on His name will be saved. She has moved into Glory with her saviour, we who are left for a time should take heed & reach out to the other Jade Goodys while their is still time, "for the night cometh when no man can work". God bless you Jade.

22 March 2009 at 10:40  
Anonymous oiznop said...

"She did not so much live like a candle in the wind as a foot in a cowpat."


22 March 2009 at 12:23  
Anonymous Terry said...

As long as she actually did get to which no one now knows except God

22 March 2009 at 12:57  
Anonymous NickM said...

Your Grace,
Hast thou lost the plot?

Max Clifford spreading the gospel?


22 March 2009 at 13:56  
OpenID curly15 said...

I thought Gordon Brown didn't do "celebrity".

22 March 2009 at 17:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who criticise Apb. Cranmer for using these Latin words because they are drawn from the Romish requiem "mass" have missed the point.

Not everything the popish church believes, says or does is wrong. Some things quite clearly are (blasphemous even) and we should have no part in them. But others are consonant with Biblical faith and there is nothing wrong with Reformed Christians echoing them.

So while there is much that is objectionable in the Romish requiem "mass", the words cited here by Abp. Cramer are not among them. They are a beautiful expression of deep gospel truths.

22 March 2009 at 17:11  
Blogger David Vance said...

That she asked for forgiveness and embraced her Saviour is the pertinent point to which I can only add Amen.

22 March 2009 at 19:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always though the third person masculine pronoun, when referring to the ultimate Deity, was capitalised. Is this an old - fashioned usage which is no longer in vogue?

However, even if it is old - fashioned, given the date of Cranmer's demise one would have thouht he would employ it anyway

22 March 2009 at 20:30  
Anonymous tammy said...

Jade Goody died and was gathered to her generations, her lifespan determined before the day of birth. Finite, upon the timeline which reaches for Eternity, I do indeed hope that she has made safe passage. Each of us, a heartbeat away from death. That is the reality of frail humanity.

Regarding capitalization of the "third person masculine pronoun" reminds me of my branch of service hymn.

Many of the old English hymns have four stanza. The first, refers to the Father, 2nd to the Son and third, the Holy Spirit. The fourth, makes the bold statement of belief in a Triune God.


22 March 2009 at 20:52  
Anonymous not a machine said...

not a good topic for me your grace as i found it all too like the colusseum , however i am to take a prod in the ribs , in that my own judgement just shows how much greater gods is , than mine.

hope that god works through her and her family

22 March 2009 at 21:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prayed for jade but she revealed in New magazine march issue that she was seeing a white witch and a reiki healer. I hope she did confess Christ before she slipped into eternity , who knows until we get to glory. There seems to be no evidence for her converting although she was said to be reading the Bible.

22 March 2009 at 21:26  
Blogger Barnsley Bill said...

And yet again let the British public beat themselves in another festival of mournsturbation.

22 March 2009 at 22:54  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Romish ... popish ... papist ... wow, I thought these were words that hadn't been uttered (other than in jest) for a century or more. Reminds me of the Frenchman in Babette's Feast who answers the Lutheran pastor's question with raised eyebrows and a hint of a grin, "Oui, je suis papiste."

23 March 2009 at 00:27  
Blogger Algernon Moncrieff said...

Hear hear, for the most part.. not sure she could have successfully stood for election anywhere other than areas of extreme depriv/desper-ation though..

23 March 2009 at 00:43  
Anonymous Benny Austwick said...

Very well said. I shall add you to our blogroll

23 March 2009 at 01:12  
Blogger CJ22 said...

You're all mental.

23 March 2009 at 03:28  
Blogger ZZMike said...

Hank Petram: "Romish ... popish ... papist ... wow, I thought these were words that hadn't been uttered (other than in jest) for a century or more."

It's as I noted the other day. Our gracious host could write a note on the bad weather in Birmingham and someone would come charging out from behind the arras, muttering "Antichrist!! Whore of Babylon!! Idol-worshippers!! Mark of the beast!"

After a while it becomes tedious and predictable, and - as your well-known English dramatists wrote some years ago - "a source of innocent merriment".

As for Ms Goody - relatively unknown this side of the pond - her character is certainly a matter of her origins. She did not ask to be born into a humble state. Evidently she was not granted the benefits of an Oxford or Cambridge upbringing.

But coming into the public eye, she reminds us of that end toward which we all march. She also reminds us that we don't know when our time will come.

(Just last week, Vanessa Redgrave's daughter Natasha Richardson died 3 or 4 days after a fall while skiing.)

Knowing that we don't know when it's our turn, how then should we live?

For Jane and Natasha and countless others who have gone on before:

Requiescat in pace.

23 March 2009 at 04:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zz mike, We should perhaps look at ourselves?

23 March 2009 at 07:28  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

A young friend of mine once met Jade on a television programme and spoke well of her complete lack of self importance and natural manner, showing as much interest in him as he in her. This contrasts markedly with some politicians I have met - though I have to say the late Robin Cook was an honourable exception.

CJ22 - stay with us, you will find the ecletic mix of erudition, wit, seriousness, breadth of view/ topic very difficult to find elsewhere.

Being " mental" in Brown' s Britain is a badge of honour.

Being " mental" in Brown' a Britain is a badge of honour.

23 March 2009 at 09:14  
Blogger OurSally said...

>Evidently she was not granted the benefits of an Oxford or Cambridge upbringing.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! This is not the USA.

It used to be the case that state schools were good enough for any child with brains and determination to proceed to an Oxbridge education. I know, for I did it, without cash and without the support of any member of my family. In those days it was not granted, it was freely available.

Even nowadays it is possible; many children of humble parents still take this route. JG could have done it too, if she had really wanted. But it is a lot harder than it used to be. That's socialism for you.

24 March 2009 at 09:03  
Blogger ZZMike said...

Thanks, OurSally, for the correction.

(I should have said "did not have the benefits of...")

Indeed, under socialism, we are all equally well off. Or rather, badly off.

Our current administration here in the US seems to be casting fond gazes in that direction - for reasons most of us simply cannot understand.

25 March 2009 at 01:36  
Blogger USpace said...

A most moving and lovely tribute indeed, Your Grace. I too believe her story will inspire many. Great point. God Bless her, and her family and friends. RIP Jane Goody.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
vilify the innocent

create a media storm
harass private citizens

For those seeking a quick translation of your piece
Faure's Requiem - IN PARADISUM

May the angels lead you into paradise,
may the martyrs receive you
in your coming,
and may they guide you
into the holy city, Jerusalem.
May the chorus of angels receive you
and with Lazarus once poor
may you have eternal rest.


25 March 2009 at 05:38  
Anonymous len said...

Thanks for the translation some of us don`t do latin.
It is quite poetic.

25 March 2009 at 13:20  
Anonymous josh said...

A new season. :)

28 March 2009 at 16:36  

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