As read at St Paul’s Cathedral 27th March 2012.
 
Today we gather, here in this cathedral, in the surrounds of this sacred space, including Federation Square, at home or at work, with one voice. We have gathered as family members, friends, colleagues, admirers, and interested bystanders to give thanks to God for the life of Jim Stynes.

We have come together with one voice to reflect on his life, to honour him, to give thanks, to commit his mortal remains to the earth and to offer our prayers and support to his family.

We have come together to look to the future with hope and confidence, with the knowledge that the legacy of Jim
Stynes will live into the future through the lives of all whom he touched, not least his wife Sam and their children, Matisse and Tiernan. 

As we gather, we are both challenged and called to continue Jim’s work in how we live our own lives in relation to those whom we love and are closest to, as well as the stranger, the sojourner and those in need. Jim achieved in his life what many of us aspire to over many more years of life.

We have already heard this morning tributes that reflect the many attributes of Jim’s life. He embraced and encouraged people from all walks of life. His charm, skills, determination, compassion and understanding of life’s challenges went far beyond the football field and often at some cost to those he most loved. His personal relationships and his vision of what could be were the over- riding hallmarks of his life. Even for a passionate and ever hopeful Richmond supporter such as I, , Jim Stynes could not be ignored.

Jim Stynes to many was a hero, mentor, soul mate and confidante. Some have awarded him celebrity status, a description I think he would have felt uncomfortable with and would not have wanted. Such status was not important to him. What Jim did was what he believed and understood to be the core or essence of being human-a person with a deep respect and concern for the other, whether it be a young person experiencing difficulties, a young recruit homesick or over awed by their new surroundings, a friend in need or as husband and father. This does not suggest that Jim was with out fault. He was human as we all are, yet as he journeyed through life he focused on the positive, and saw the good and potential of what life could offer.

No matter how well we are prepared for the death of a loved one or someone close or near to us, we are all affected.
Very few of us can distance ourselves from the impact of death. Our hearts and minds, which make us distinctly human , respond with emotions of joy and sadness.

How we live life is I suggest important in how we see death. The search for meaning and purpose in life and how we address the journey will greatly influence how we respond to death, not only the death of others but also our mortality. If we see human existence as an accident of history, or the survival of the fittest, death is the end, the finality of who we are. If we view life as a gift, the gift of a creator God, even if we still are exploring our relationship with the divine, then how we view life takes on a greater and more profound understanding.

Jim Stynes by the way he lived knew that there was more to life than self and the present. In his life he fostered hope for others, not out of some charitable or feel good notion but out of a deeper and more profound knowledge and consciousness of the many gifts and talents he had been given which he could use to benefit others and to support their future. For Jim Stynes life was more than an accident of history, and this I believe helped him be the person he was.

Christians believe that from love we are created and to love we shall return. This is not some sentimental, wishy-washy love, or self-love, not even romantic love, but a much greater truth that embraces compassion, resilience, justice, mercy, forgiveness, and our own personal fulfilment and redemption. Love then is at the centre of what it means to be human a love that extends to all.

Today we come not only to give thanks for the life of Jim, but we also come to grieve and mourn. We grieve because we are human and because we are aware that we have lost something of ourselves. But we also hope that Jim’s accomplishments and contribution to enriching the lives of others will continue.

In the Christian year we are approaching Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter day. These days recall the central tenets of the Christina faith, that in grief, pain, abandonment and the suffering of a young man, who gave his life for others, there is the promise of hope. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s way of saying be courageous, go forward, fulfil the vision of justice for all, love one another and walk with me to build a community where all God’s people are cared for and loved. While Jim journeyed, unsure of belief, he lived this message.

As we gather the greatest gift by which we can remember Jim is not by a monument or stature, but by doing best what he did for others.

Let me conclude with the this prayer from John Donne:
Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven: to enter into the gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling light, no noise or silence, but one equal possession; no ends or beginnings, but one equal eternity, in the habitations of thy glory and dominion, world without end. Amen 
As we gather to celebrate a fruitful life, may we hear, listen and respond to the call and promise of God for ourselves.
Rest eternal grant to Jim, O Lord and may light perpetual shine upon him.

Amen