My sisters led beautiful prayers at Red Twin’s memorial service. I share them here with their permission.
Let us pray together, starting with verses from the last Psalm Mum and Red Twin read together: Psalm 116
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.
Lord our God, the breaker of chains, the one who defeated death, the giver of abundant and true life, we give you thanks for the life of our dear Red Twin.
Childhood and family
We thank you for the joy of her childhood. For all the details of her life that only those closest to her know. We thank you for her consistency when choosing her lunch, for pink clothes, walls and bed spreads. Her ability to talk the leg off an iron pot. Her enjoyment of slapstick humour and truly terrible television.
We thank you for her special relationship with Tamie as her twin, and for the joy that she brought to her parents and to her sisters. We thank you for every tear, heated debate, emotional clash – they made Red Twin the person she was. We thank you for her determination to mend and tend relationships and to grow closer to each person in her family throughout her life.
Ministry work, study and Central Asia
We thank you for Red Twin’s many years of service to the Church across her life. We thank you for her diligence in study, which provided her with the academic and professional skills she required to be such a blessing in her work overseas.
We thank you for Red Twin’s courage to go to Central Asia. We thank you for the fervent interest Red Twin took in the people of Central Asia, their mental health and their spiritual welfare. We thank you for Red Twin’s professional work training nurses and doctors in mental health care, and we also thank you for the work of her everyday life in Central Asia; caring for people, baking for people, eating with people, laughing with people. We thank you for her passion and advocacy for the people and work of Central Asia.
Special friends and relationships
We want to thank you for all of Red Twin’s friendships. For the friends who visited Red Twin over the last year, for old friends she was able to reconnect with during her illness, for new friends she made, and for friends far away who are missing her today, just as we are missing her.
We also want to thank you for special friends, in particular for Jodie, Red Twin’s oldest and closest friend. Thank you for the years they shared together. For the support that they provided to each other, for the bearing of souls and for all the laughs that only they could share.
We thank you for provision of medical care in Australia and for all the people who provided Red Twin with such excellent medical care throughout her sickness. We thank you for the tenacity and kindness of Dr Etuati, Prof Hewitt, and Prof Tim Price. We thank you for the Modbury Palliative care team, in particular for Heather (Red Twin’s Nurse practitioner) and Dr Teena who looked after Red Twin while she was at home, and for Dr David and the entire staff of the palliative care ward who took such great care of Red Twin and of us over the last 2 weeks of her life.
Faithfulness in sickness
We thank you for the attitude that Red Twin displayed throughout her illness. She remained assured of your love for her and your faithfulness through the promises of your Son. She lived looking forward to glory, while also trusting and relying on you day by day through the horrible reality of dying from cancer. We thank you for the testament that Red Twin was to you. Her faith was an inspiration and a challenge to us all.
In the midst of our thankfulness for Red Twin’s vibrant life, and the promise of eternal rest…we are also filled with sadness and pain. We feel the loss, the emptiness, the dimness of a world without our beloved Red Twin. At times the shadow of her loss is so dark and so deep, that we feel immobilised, we feel completely alone, we feel wilted and dry and lifeless.
In those moments we cry out to you our Lord, the God who saves us, have mercy on us.
When the days seem like long, black, desolate nights we cry out to you have mercy on us.
When grief overwhelms us and we feel like we are in a pit from which we cannot climb out…we cry out to you, have mercy on us.
When we have lost our strength, we cry out to you, have mercy on us.
You too have known grief and pain and loss. We know that as we cry, you cry with us. As we suffer and groan and rage against the unwelcome sting of death, you suffer with us. In your mercy, breathe life into us, breathe joy into us again…breathe strength into us again.
And now, trusting in your unending goodness, we humbly ask for your comfort.
Lord, please comfort us all now as we grieve the loss of Red Twin. We ask for your spirit to surround us and provide rest and consolation as we come to understand what life will be like without Red Twin.
We also ask for comfort as we look to the future. We think of the special occasions that are ahead of us where we will look around, expecting to share the moment with Red Twin. We have confidence in your care for us and we ask that we would have a deep sense of how you carry us through difficult times.
Grief can put strain on relationships and friendships. For each person grieving Red Twin we ask that you fill them with patience and the grace to bear with and forgive each other in this difficult time.
The people of Central Asia held a particular place in Red Twin’s heart. We ask that you move by your Spirit in Central Asia and draw the people there to you and bring them into your Kingdom. We ask that you equip and encourage the workers currently in Central Asia – may they be fearful in love and fruitful in their ministry. We ask you that raise up another worker who is willing to go and serve you in this complex country, and that you build and equip a Central Asian church to witness and minister to their community.
Faithfulness for those left behind
Red Twin ran and finished her race well, dying with full assurance and peace. For those of us still running, we ask for strength and courage to run the race you have set before us. With confidence in your promises we ask that you continue to help us grow in faithfulness and dedication to you, that we too may be good and faithful servants.
In James chapter 1 we learn that a crown awaits all those who persevere for your sake. We remember that Red Twin means one who is crowned, and we hold firm to the knowledge that today she has the crown that you prepared for her in advance. Today her victory is complete. A victory that is open to anyone who calls upon your name and puts their trust in you.
We thank you for the truth that even in suffering, even in pain, even in the harsh reality of cancer, we look forward to a victory and a crown like no other.
As foretold in Revelation 21, we look forward to the time when we will see a new heaven and a new earth. 2 When we will hear a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
5 And the one sitting on the throne will say, “Look, I am making everything new!” “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”
With this promise as our foundation, we pray together a hymn of victory, written by Jon Guerra:
The saving work is done
And death is not my ending
My God has overcome and
I’m bound for glory
All my pain, hurt and shame
Gone when Jesus calls my name
Endless joy, endless praise
All when Jesus calls my name
I am free because I’m bound
I am bound for Heaven’s gates
Where my feet will stand on holy ground
I am bound for glory!
We pray in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.