Lesley Boyden – Reader 18.06.49 to 25-01-20
Lesley at Bishop Chris' left hand in the licensing service October 2019
Lesley's prayer labyrinth by Lez.
Lesley second from the right at the licensing. Her worry was that her wig might be dislodged when the Reader Scarf was placed around her neck.
Sermon for February 21 2020
Revelation 21: 1-7
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home* of God is among mortals.
He will dwell* with them;
they will be his peoples,*
and God himself will be with them;*
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
The funeral of Lesley Boyden
A quote from Lesley’s application to be a Reader back in May 2016. (Not 2018 as I said in the service! A vocal typo!)
“I feel that I will bring the strength of my years as a Christian from the joys and difficulties I have experienced along the way and the many lessons I have learned and am still learning. I am sure my love for people will also benefit…..”
That Lesley should have chosen this reading is unsurprising as, for me, it really seems to epitomise her outlook on life especially in the time that I have known her. She exuded such positivity and faith firmly holding to the notion that her illness would take her home to Christ where the seas of earthly troubles would be no more, where He would be waiting to make all things right, wiping away tears and looking after his faithful like children.
I had heard that Lesley had planned her funeral a few weeks ago but until I got an invitation to preach on the reading from Revelation I did not know what she had planned; it seems such a short time ago but I was preaching at her licensing as a reader in the cathedral in October.
My life has been blessed with people called Lesley,
- there’s Lesley (or Les with an S) we remember and celebrate today,
- There’s my wife, though she likes to be known as Lez,
- and another reader called Lesley to name but three.
So to avoid confusion we have John and the family’s Lesley, My Lesley or Lez (with a Z) and the other Lesley. You may be wondering where on earth I am going with this.
Well my Lesley (Lez) plans and runs a big arts festival every year and asked Rev Annie Henry to come and teach the “Crafty People” group how to sew prayer labyrinths. Well to cut a long story short, Lez was in her craft room (yes it’s a serious business) sewing her labyrinth which had taken a number of painstaking hours when she wandered across to my study and said words to the effect of “This might sound a bit strange but I have a real sense that I should give this to Lesley which decoration do you think she would like?”
John’s Lesley was delighted with it and Liz (who read the Revelations Reading at the service) subsequently borrowed it for various things. Now Lesley and Lez had never met but whenever I mentioned news about Lesley, (Johns) Lez would say ..”oh do you mean My Lesley?”
In many ways Lesley belonged to all of us here but we all probably knew her in different ways – different facets of her character and personality as we have heard in the wonderful eulogy from Kate earlier…. But I suspect if you asked quite a lot of people here what they remember of meeting her one of the things they would all say would be similar to the greeting she would give me….. “oh how’s Lez? Is she doing her exercises… tell her not to worry….. “
She would have wanted us to hear that reading today and to hear that everything was going to be fine, that all would be right in the end, that our tears would be wiped away and that she was OK….. Don’t worry she has no more pain, or death – and is with her beloved Jesus.
For those of us here without that faith she would also have wanted this address, and her life, her example, to open up a little chink of query in our hearts to seek to find out what it is all about. I am not giving answers here… after all it has taken me 60 years to get to this point and I still only scratched the surface myself.
I was so pleased that Liz and I were able to visit in the last couple of days of her earthy journey where she was aware of us as we talked to and prayed with her. At one point, Kate came in to say goodbye before going to pick up Lesley’s granddaughter, Ella from school ………. and the last words I heard Lesley say were “love you”
And that’s what it’s all about. Lesley followed Jesus command to love others like Jesus loved her and her example will live on not only in the family through genetics and influence but in all who met her and indeed in the new heaven and the new earth of revelation.
In the meantime, there may be many tears to be shed, both today and in coming weeks, along with all the other emotions that go along with grief – but hold onto that image of Lesley as the embodiment love….. tell the stories of her life but most importantly follow her example.
From that quote at the beginning, Lesley said, “. I am sure my love for people will also benefit…..” and we all have.
Heaven has a new angel – I can’t imagine her actually resting – but in any case she will certainly rise in glory. Amen