RIP Lorraine Elliott — 9/7/43-2/7/14
Funeral of Lorraine Eliott: 8 July, 2014
Fr Samuel Dow
Assistant Curate, St Peter's, Eastern Hill
May my words be spoken in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lorraine Clare Elliott seems to me, from the stories I have heard from her husband John and her children Tom, Caroline and Ed, to be an amazing woman on so many different levels. The overwhelming response of people in attendance here today is a great testimony to the impact that she has had in the many communities in which she was involved.
Over the last few days I have learnt more and more about Lorraine. During this time I stumbled upon an interview with Lorraine written in the Melbourne Times 'Weekly Review' shortly after her election as president of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. I would like to read one particular paragraph from this interview that struck me about Lorraine where she speaks of herself in relation to the arts.
But sadly the performing arts remained something for Elliott to witness, rather than to do herself. "I have no voice, I can't sing, I can't dance, can't paint or draw." she says. "Is that a source of regret? "Oh, absolutely. Had I been able to be Judi Dench or Helen Mirren or Cate Blanchett, I would have. I really love theatre."
The reason that this particular paragraph resonated is because I'm not convinced that it accurately does describe Lorraine. Perhaps she may not have ever admitted to this but I think that Lorraine, in her own way, will be always remember as an incredible artist.
Lorraine is someone who has been a life artist, an artist whose very canvas is life, relationship and community. Upon this canvas Lorraine has painted a most beautiful picture. She has deeply loved her family and friends as well as the communities which she has been a part of.
In the bible reading from the Gospel of John, that we have just heard read, Jesus engages with his disciples in a conversation about this 'new kingdom of God' which he constantly speaks of. This new kingdom, where there will be a new heaven and a new earth, is not for Jesus some celestial land somewhere galaxies far far away amongst the clouds. Instead Jesus proclaims that the kingdom of God is here and now and that God himself loves us so much that he longs for the renewal of the earth. So Jesus, who is the son of God, says to his disciples "I am going ahead to prepare a place for you". As in, I am preparing this new kingdom of God so that the whole creation may live in harmony with one another and with their creator. Thomas rightly asks, 'how do we know the way', or in other words 'how do we know what to do?'. Jesus responds, 'I am the way, the truth and the life'. Follow the example of Jesus Christ in a life of justice, peace and love for God and for your neighbour and this will continue the work of renewing the face of the earth.
God is inviting us to come and be co-creators with him. To be, if you like, artists of life. From the stories and tributes offered about Lorraine's life it can certainly be said that she joined in and became an artist with God in the world, creating art works of life.
It is not just because she was a person who has been in quite significant positions in the life of communities, although this has certainly aided her cause. But it is because she faithfully and passionately cared for these groups of people which has made such a significant impact in the world. Lorraine has been a vessel of God's grace and action in this new kingdom of God.
But death as we know it is not the end. When Jesus was at the peak of his ministry of showing and proclaiming this new kingdom of God in the world he was killed and rejected by the authorities and even those close to him. But on the third day Jesus rose again from the dead and proclaimed a message of 'Peace be with you'. So as we gather in our grief today, we also remember that Lorraine continues on in life in the presence of God and all the saints.
I believe that Lorraine Elliott was indeed a great master artist in the medium of life and has been a champion for the kingdom of God.
As Lorraine now rests in the presence of God almighty, God would no doubt give her a pat on the pack and say 'well done good and faithful servant'.
Views is a
St Peter's Eastern Hill, Melbourne Australia.