Always find Mothering Sunday strange.  In the parish it was an immense event – heaving with children and flowers.  I would never just say ‘folk religion’ – but most of the classic statements about its meaning never seem to get anywhere near it.

Today was different – because the story of Jade Goody’s life and death gave it shape and purpose.  To be personal about it, she represents for me all the awkward people who have roared and shouted at me, all the difficult and non-compliant people .. in whom strangely and unaccountably I have seen the grace of God at work.  I wonder if what she became was as surprising to her as it was to us.

What is fascinating is the way in which her passions – misdirected towards Shilpa Shetty in the Big Brother House – were directed towards her husband and her children.  And somehow she came to terms with the idea that what the church was offering her could in shape and express what was most precious to her.

May she rest in peace.


  1. With me, it’s always been, not so much individuals like Jade, but the celebrity media-culture that I have looked down on. Or so I thought.

    Jade Goody’s death has forced me to ask myself if my view of this culture is objective or is it, in fact, snobbery towards those to whom this culture belongs? If Jade’s life was valid is her culture also valid? At the least, it may be more neutral than I had previously thought. We have railed against it from our pulpits and in the media. Ironically it has ended up spreading something of our gospel far more effectively than we have managed recently.

  2. Yes, I suspect we’ve all got our own Jade. Someone who we find tricky, whether downright unappealing or simply confusing, who manages to challenge some of our comforable assumptions. Sometimes it’s those with disabilities, particularly for me, learning disabilities – I remember a woman in our last church. It was so easy to dismiss her in her plastic flipflops with flowers on them and her mishmash of brightly coloured clothes, and the way she never managed to grasp that my name wasn’t Adrian, and yet… At the communion rail (as she clutched her Rosary beads) her face lit up with the certainty that here was a ‘thin’ place, where she could touch God and be touched by God in her turn. She knew she was loved, at that point, if at no other. I learned, finally, to value the way she made faith simple, and to acknowledge that, too often, I make it far too complicated. She’s still alive, continuing to be one of God’s still, small voices to those in the congregation around her – thank God.

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