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Jim Cotter

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 22 June 2014

In 1985 a dear friend gave me a book called Prayer at Night: A Book for the Darkness, by Jim Cotter.

Over the months and years that followed, that book shaped the way I pray more than any other. I still have that original copy.

I got to know the author about 10 years ago. He was a talented priest who came out as gay in the 1970s and became a focus of authority and wisdom for many seeking to be gay and Christian as well as for those seeking liturgical renewal. For me he was a man who taught me to pray.

About 18 months ago Jim asked me to accompany him through his journey toward death through leukaemia. And so in a series of visits and phone calls we shared deeply of the last things. His memorial service takes place on Wednesday here at St Martin’s.

Two pieces from that original book are so dear to me I have more or less committed them to memory. I offer them here as a tribute in his memory.

Miserable are those who, in their insecurity, look anxiously for appreciation from others: they claim everything for themselves, and yet possess nothing, wandering unhappily and belonging nowhere. Blessed are those who have accepted their insecurity, and are content to go unrecognised and unrewarded, claiming nothing for themselves: the freedom of the earth is theirs; never exiled, they are everywhere at home.

O living God, in Jesus Christ you were laid in the tomb at this evening hour, and so sanctified the grave to be a bed of hope to your people. Give us courage and faith to die daily to our sin and pride, that even as this flesh and blood decays, our lives may still grow in you, that at our last day our dying may be done so well that we live in you for ever. Amen.

Revd Dr Sam Wells