Fr David's Sermon
23rd December 2008
Eva used to share a memory of sitting in a tram amidst the excitement at the ending of the First World War. That was a very long time ago – Eva would have been four. It is a reminder of her great age – the 94 years we give thanks to God for today.And yet Eva never seemed old – there was always a youthfulness about her expressed in her positive attitude to life and her ongoing interest in people & especially the young.
Eva was born on 27th March 1914. Her early years were quite hard. She was reared firstly by her grandmother and then when she died by the Randolph family.
Her upbringing gave her the determination & strength of character to succeed in life. On leaving grammar school she got a job in the masculine world of the LCC transport department in Baker Street. It was during those years on the steps of the Opera House that she met her late husband Harry. They were drawn to each other through a mutual love of music especially Beethoven’s ‘Fifth’. They married 30th December 1939. Once again she entered a masculine world as Harry came from a mining family of brothers ruled by a formidable mother in law.
During the war Eva served as an ARP warden and continued to proudly wear her ’39-’45 medal on Remembrance Sunday. After the war she entered the teaching profession, training at Ashridge. She taught in Camden, Wembley & Haringey where she became a much loved and respected Headmistress. During this time she provided a reference for a newly qualified young teacher – we now know her as Sally Best!
1968 saw a turning point in Eva’s life for on 22nd February Harry died suddenly. Resisting the temptation to give up she embraced the second half of life with gusto. She enjoyed a full social life particularly enjoying the theatre. She carried out charitable work with the elderly and in hospitals. She carried out a programme of public speaking once being surprised by questions from consultants at a talk on the Bank of England at Mount Vernon Hospital.Throughout her life Eva was sustained by her Christian faith, latterly expressed through her membership of this church and its associated prayer group. She last came just a few weeks ago to the Harvest Lunch and to church in November. She always believed that God had a purpose for her in life and would only call her home when he was ready. She survived her bad fracture of nearly two years ago. God she said was not ready! Only at the end did she graciously accept that the time had come.
She was grateful for the support she received in her last years especially from Geoff, Mike, Jane & Ros and many other friends.In two days time we will celebrate again God’s making his home with his people in Jesus – Emmanuel – God with us. He makes his home with us so we can be at home in him. In our reading we heard how there are many mansions in our father’s house. Jesus goes to make ready for us. Our faith promises us that such a place has been prepared for Eva and that now she is enjoying it in the company of the saints. We hand Eva over to God and her new home.
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