Jade Goody was a controversial figure, for the last seven years ever since she hit the TV screens through the reality TV show Big Brother she has been loved and hated by the tabloid press and the public alike. Her death was reported this morning.
Over the last few weeks her battle with terminal cancer has been documented and we have watched a brave young woman deal with her last days in a glare of invited publicity. It is easy to critisise Jade, in our Mothering Sunday Service this morning a request for prayer was made for her children, the request was phrased that no matter what we thought of the mother we should pray for her children.
I tend to think that we might do well to listen to some of Jade's words during her last few weeks; yes she sold her story for a handsome sum of money, but as she explained she did not do so in order to buy flashy cars and big houses, but in order to provide for her sons so that they could have a better childhood than she had had! Jade has also been generous in support for charities including cancer charities.
Jade often displayed hidden depths, she weathered the storm of racism accusations emerging eventually to take part in an Indian version of Big Brother where she explained that she did not realise how offensive she had been. If anyone else had made such a statement would and should have been met with suspicion, but Jade wore her heart on her sleeve, and I for one suspect that she meant what she said. When confronted with the fact that her behavior was unreasonable Jade usually listened to reason, it was not her fault that she did not know another way.
I have been struck by her recent desire to know Jesus, her theology might well be shaky but her desire was genuine, and I explained here why I felt that her desire to be baptised and to see her boys baptised should be welcomed rather than frowned upon.
So today I prayed for Jade and for her family, and I pray that her example of love and care for her family might be one that challenges us this Mothering Sunday to open our eyes and see even through this flawed image the evidence of the God of love at work, a God who loves each one of us more than we can possibly imagine. Did Jade find God as some newspapers are quoting, I don't know how to answer that, but this I know for sure, God would not turn Jade away!