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A Sermon preached by Phil at a memorial service for Diana...

		
A Prayer...

Loving God, as we gather together in this place to give thanks for the
life of Diana, Princess of Wales, we pray that through the guidance of
Your Word and the presence of Your Spirit, You would turn us away from
our grief and distress. Lead us gently towards a greater awareness of
Your presence, a clearer understanding of Your life-giving gospel, and
a deeper desire to love one another. Amen. The words that Stephen read for us earlier on... "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face
to face. Now I
know in part; then I shall
understand fully."
Those were the words of the apostle Paul as he wrote to a little church
in a city called Corinth. "For now we see in a mirror dimly..." The
city of Corinth was famous for its mirror-makers. Back then, though,
mirrors weren’t as good as they are today. They were made of polished
metal. If Paul were to have looked in one, he would only have seen a
hazy and dim reflection of himself. Some would say that was a good thing,
because, by all accounts, he would have won no prizes at a beauty contest. "Now we see in a mirror dimly..." All of us here, you and me, are made in the image of God. And all of us here, you and me, reflect something of the glory of God. However poor the reflection, however distorted, however hazy or dim it is, each of us reflects something of the glory of God. We are like those Corinthian mirrors that Paul was talking about - our lives are a dim and hazy
reflection of the glory of God. Over the last few weeks, many people have pointed to aspects of Diana’s
life which reflect very well something of the glory of God. I can think
of two examples straight away. The first is that unforgettable moment when Diana reached out and took the hand of that patient who was suffering from Aids. In that one touch, in
that one moment, she broke down countless barriers and misconceptions.
In that one moment, in that one touch, she brought the warmth of
compassion and love, the acceptance of touch to countless thousands cast
out by society. The second is this, it comes out clearly in the words of the Elton John
song "Candle in the Wind" which we will hear later on... two of the
phrases he uses: "The stars spell out your name" and "you lived your
life like a candle in the wind". Images of light. All over the world,
people have lit candles in Diana’s memory. Countless times I have heard
people say things like,... "her life shone so brightly" ... "she was like
a light in the darkness, brightening peoples’ lives." ... "It is as if
a light has gone out."
In both of these ways, Diana dimly reflected the glory of God. But there has only ever been one person who has perfectly reflected the
glory of God - and his name is Jesus. He too reached out to touch those
who were outcast by society - those afflicted by leprosy, those despised
because of their race, their profession, their rank or their class -
Jesus reached out and touched them, making them whole. There has only ever been one person who has perfectly reflected the glory of God - and his name is Jesus. He too brought light into the world, he said "I am the light of the world." When John wrote his gospel about
Jesus the Word, he wrote this: "In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with
God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything
made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of
humankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never
put it out." The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. In her touch and in the light that she brought, Diana dimly reflected the glory of God. As we give thanks for her life and remember her today, may we be pointed towards the touch of Jesus which makes us whole, and the light of Jesus which never goes out. As we give thanks for Diana, and remember her today, may we also be reconciled to the one whose life shows us God face-to-face, Jesus Christ, our Lord. As we give thanks for Diana, and remember her
life, may we rededicate ourselves so to live our lives that the healing
touch and the unfailing light of Jesus will be reflected for all to see
in everything we do. That would be a fitting memorial. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.