Burial of our Sister Rachel Goode – Worcester 19 December 2019

About Rachel Goode (1962 to 2019)

 

Rachel was one of six children (the others being Jenny, Julie, Mark, and twins Carrie and Nick) of Ted and Ursula Standing, a humble but pious and evangelical family from Tunbridge Wells, Kent; South-east of London. Ted was initially a farmer and later a council worker who was taken to be with the Lord when only 54. Ursula was taken in 2005.

Rachel’s character can be deduced from the burial – a happy radiant lover of the Lord Jesus, who was always ready to testify of her faith. Although we were acquainted with her earlier, we came to know her well later. She worked in the office of the local bus company, Maidstone and District.  Her boss, Chris Goode was a sincere believer and organist at St Mark’s Church in Gillingham, Kent (evangelical CofE). Chris was concerned about the unscriptural trends in the church and discussed these with Rachel. Chris began attending meetings in Gillingham in the gathering where my wife and I attended  and we sought to encourage him. In the end he stayed with the church.

Fast forward seven years. Chris had moved to Worcester and had set up a bus touring business. He also came into Christian fellowship in a gathering linked with us in Gillingham and Rachel and Tunbridge Wells. Unsurprisingly they formed a link and were united in marriage in 1991. The household was a bulwark in Worcester, remaining faithful, carrying things despite a lot of local difficulties. They had two children, Charles and Bronwyn (Bronnie), now in their 20’s, both as committed to the Lord and devoted to His service as their parents. Following the difficulties in Worcester they have met with Christians in Malvern since 2017.

In 2016 Rachel developed cancer and despite three courses of chemotherapy was taken to be with the Lord on 26 November 2019.

On her last day Charles wrote:

It’s been an extremely difficult day- we feel very numb, very raw. I have been with Mum and she is very sleepy and not really ‘with it’. It’s so heart breaking to see her like that and going downhill so quickly. She had bad pain, so they gave her liquid morphine. The nurse said that she hasn’t got long to live. The only comfort is that Mum has been through so much- chemotherapy, blood tests, scans etc- that she may soon be out of suffering. Rachel means ‘lamb’ and as a ‘ewe, she bore’ suffering in a gentle uncomplaining way- a faithful and true follower of the Lamb of God. Yet we rest in hope that our Lord may come BEFORE then and take us ALL to be with Himself forevermore. Amen, come Lord Jesus!

Earlier in the day Bronnie had written: . I saw the Consultant with Mum and there’s nothing more they can do. A doctor said mum is the best patient he had ever had. She’s safe in those arms of Jesus

She was taken to be with the Lord about 11pm that evening.

 

Rachel Goode’s Burial

Regarding the Burial on 19 December 2019, Charles Goode wrote (edited to make it less personal):

Introduction

We thought that the saints would be interested in a few notes about my dear mother’s burial. In the same way that she demonstrated remarkable faith and trust throughout her lifetime – a ‘triumph of faith’ as John Turner called it – the Lord really came in with the burial, far above what we could have asked or thought. As one brother observed, it was remarkable how the personality and character of Mum was so clearly reflected in her burial. In her case, it was a strong faith and the way she radiated the love of Jesus to all that she met. A remarkable number of people (approximately 230 in all) attended the burial – including relatives, neighbours, colleagues, and friends.

The meeting itself began by Chris Goode speaking briefly about how the love of Jesus radiated out from my mother and, as the Centre of her life, it was our desire for Him to be at the Centre of the burial meeting.

* Chris Goode (Malvern) gave out of her favourite hymns – 291 (Hymns from the 1961 version of the Little Flock Hymnbook – published by the Dunbar Trust – accessible online) ‘Lo! He comes, from heaven descending’ – to the very rousing tune ‘Cwm Rhondda’ (the tune to ‘Guide me oh Thou great Redeemer’) and it was a very uplifting start to the meeting. 291 was also sung at their wedding meeting back in 1991.

* Jimmy Gray (Tunbridge Wells) then gave out 375 – ‘Lord, though Thy saints be laid to rest’

* Daniel Roberts (Gillingham – editor of ‘Today if ye will hear His Voice’) then prayed making reference to the challenges and suffering which Chris and Rachel had experienced in their life and also that the Lord’s Name would be proclaimed in the meeting.

Words

In terms of the words, three brothers spoke quite quickly one after the other including:

John Turner (Malvern) – The Triumph of Faith- Luke 8:46-48; Mark 11: 22; Hebrews 11:1-6

The vital importance of faith. Faith to believe in God, faith to reach out the Lord Jesus as Saviour and faith to sustain the believer in their pathway here. Rachel’s life was a life of faith and the Lord was gracious sparing her for nearly three years after she was diagnosed and was very poorly with cancer.

John Hutson (Bromley) – Let Your Light Shine Before Men- Matthew 5:14-16; John 8:12

Our brother had known Rachel all his life and from a young age her love and testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ shone out – this was because she followed the Light of the world. But how about us – are we going to hide our lights under bushels?

 

Ben Bodman (Keynsham,Bristol) – Caring with Genuine Feeling How the Saints Get On– John 19: 25&26; Philippians 2:20

Mum was one who was always concerned about others and thought more of others than of herself, including asking others how they were rather than focusing on herself. She learned this from the wonderful care that the Lord Jesus Himself has shown – caring for us so much that He died for us and considered for His mother even on the cross. But how about us – are we now going to show that care and genuine feeling for one another?

After these touching words, which so clearly reflected Rachel’s life, we then had 4 hymns – she always loved singing.

* Grahame Smith (Bromley) gave out 85 (There is rest for the weary soul)

* David Crozier (Warrenpoint) 345 (O Lord, do Thou our souls inspire)

* Martin Richards (Malvern) 165 (‘Tis not far off – the hour)

* Charles Goode (Malvern) gave out 262 (Great God of wonders! all Thy ways) (another hymn that the Goode’s had at their wedding meeting).

Committal at the Cemetery

There were about 200 in the cemetery although it was very wet and muddy and time was limited.
Charles Goode gave out just verses 1 and 5 of 213 (‘In hope we lift our wishful, longing eyes’). The singing was incredible. He then read Luke 23:39-43. He firstly said a few words of thanks for all the happy memories that we had had with his mother, and for everyone who cared so well for her, especially the medics, Bronnie and the Standing sisters. 2 Samuel 12: 22,23 was quoted to thank everyone for their prayers, pleading with the Lord to heal his dear mother. However they were to know the meaning the Lord’s words to the thief ‘today with Me in paradise’. The family loved Rachel but the Lord loved her more, and she was now enjoying unending bliss.

Charles then brought in the Gospel by saying that his mother’s place in paradise was not because she was a good person but because Jesus died for her sins at Calvary. She, like the dying thief and us all, was a sinner but that the gospel very simply involves acknowledging that each one of us has sinned, and are sinners, but we recognise the perfection of our Saviour Jesus. Charles closed by saying that the thief had a future view of Jesus as the King but that the Lord had something in mind for the thief that day. Jesus is available as a Saviour of all today, and the greatest blessing which could arise from her death would be for someone to put their faith and trust in Him.

Chris Goode then read Psalm 23 and spoke of Rachel’s life. She had always trusted the Lord as her Shepherd – ‘Jesus led me all the way’. He also brought in the wonderful hope that we have in the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4). His committal prayer was very powerful, tender and moving despite the terrible weather.

After Chris had committed his wife’s body to the Lord, Charles said that we (who remain) need hope for today so we sang the hymn that his grandfather (Ted Standing) sung on the day He was taken, aged 54, in 1979: ‘How good is God we adore’ (23).

Charles Goode’s Final Comments

We miss Mum so, so much and are absolutely broken-hearted. We were all very close to Mum – she was so calm, placid and patient! Her kindness and care radiated to all. Yet in the midst of the darkness of death, in the midst of crushing sorrow and deep desolation, the great comfort is that our Lord Jesus “bringeth out into light the shadow of death” (Job 12:22) and thanks be to God: “Where, O death, [is] thy sting? where, O death, thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Our prayer is ‘in life, in death, O Lord abide with me’. A neighbour, said that the great comfort to him when his Mum died suddenly years was: “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall not exist any more, nor grief, nor cry, nor distress shall exist any more, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Amen, Lord be it soon!

Charles Goode, (slightly edited)
Worcester, January 2020

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