Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jade Goody Dies

The death of Jade Goody was preceded in her final weeks by her baptism and that of her sons Bobby (aged 5) and Freddie (4).

It may prove that this action represented the most significant event to have taken place in Jade's 27 years.

Although Christians do not believe that baptism as such makes a person right with God, nonetheless, to the extent that it represents a genuine turning from sin and a trusting in Jesus Christ, water baptism can be seen as an outward expression of an inward change.

None of us have the knowledge or the right to judge whether such a saving faith was truly present in Jade Goody's final days - that is for God alone to judge. Christian friends who work in palliative care, however, tell me that such deathbed conversions are not uncommon.

The gospel writer Luke, who through his account of the life of Jesus frequently highlights the importance of the poor and socially marginalized in the circle of Jesus' early followers, records a conversion-at-the-point-of-death on the very day that Jesus himself was executed, around AD 30:

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

But the other criminal rebuked him....Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

It would appear from Luke's account that the Son of God was willing to grant eternal life even at the point of death to those who turned to him in simple faith and repentance, regardless of what sins they had committed beforehand, a practice which earlier on in his life earned him criticism from the religious leaders of the day who described him as "a friend of sinners."

Jade Goody's funeral service will be held at the Church of St John the Baptist in Buckurst, Essex. The church is a member of the Evangelical Alliance.

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