Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Ascending Mount Improbable

I was very moved to give the blessing at Joan Arthur’s Requiem this week. She was a member of the High Wycombe Team. Joan lived in Downley for many years, and grew into formal ministry as her family grew up, serving as reader, deacon and priest. She was someone of great perception and intelligence, with a scientific background in industry, and a considerable capacity for helping people in practical ways and getting things done.

In later years Joan had suffered much ill health. Her own vocation to priesthood emerged in the face of deep personal misgivings about the whole idea of women’s ordination, and the battle to believe God really could value her in such a calling. Being who she was, Joan needed to be convinced within herself, which took some doing — Joan was a fighter! Once persuaded, priesthood fitted like an old glove, fruitfully and effectively.
Her husband of 46 years, Joe, writes:
We were on holiday several years ago in Tenerife and decided to climb Mount Teidi. On the way up Joan fell and broke a bone in her leg. Another couple helped get her to the hospital and we stayed an extra week before being able to return home. Months later, when we were discussing holidays once again, I said “you wont want to climb Mount Teidi ever again will you” “Oh yes I will,” she replied, “you have to learn to overcome a mountain before you can enjoy it...”
The service reflected other passions of Joan’s life, including formula 1 racing, and tigers. On her desk she kept these words:
Lord, you have made me,
And my life is in your safe hands.
I do not need to fear
because I am cradled in your love.
When I allow you to dwell within my heart
I live in perfect safety and
Your peace enters my being.
Therefore I give you
my minds, my emotions,
my body, my feelings.
Take them, Lord.
Bless them, transform them, heal them.
Go to the root of all my disorders.
Touch those parts of my which hurt,
my pains, my discomforts and my unease.
Touch me and make me whole.
Come to my weaknesses and bring your strength.
Come to my restlessness and bring your stillness.
Come and reveal to me
your goodness and your mercy,
and in Your coming reveal to me your nearness,
that I may know I am not alone
and that moment by moment
You bear my sorrows, share my joys,
and will never leave me or forsake me,
That You will pour out
the richness of your healing
upon me, this child,
You know so well and love so dearly.

1 comment:

Sarah Brush said...

I was so sad I couldn't be there (we were up in Newcastle for my mother-in-law's birthday).

She was an absolute gem. She really challenged the whole culture of priests needing to be rushing around to minister to people. She embodied that stillness fuelled by internal energy that few can manage and she was great fun to work with too!

Thanks for putting up some pics of the old place! Nostalgia creeping in...

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