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laurie cordingley

The Rector: Funeral Sermon for Laurie Cordingley

Funeral Service for Laurie Cordingley
4 March 2022

Today we meet to celebrate the life of our brother in Christ Laurie [Cordingley)
We say goodbye today but celebrate his life at the same time
A life which spanned no less than 94 years
In which Laurie had a career as a local architect
Whilst also being a husband to Ruth, Father to Rod, Lorna and Mark as well as being a grandfather to Rachel and Jessica
A man we have heard lovingly described by Rod in his beautiful eulogy
Psalm 90 states
“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away”
Laurie lived for fourscore years
As well as an extra four
And we give thanks for the years which were apportioned to him by Almighty God

We have heard so much about Laurie’s life which has been enormously interesting
But as well as his secular life, he also had a life in the Church as well
I have only been at Bolton Priory for three years
And two of those have been in lockdown
So I have hardly had any time to get to know anyone properly
And Laurie was no exception
However, Laurie was a regular Church attender
Week after week Laurie came to Church
And, in the midst of all the opening and closings that went on during the pandemic,
Laurie would be back – despite the risk that it brought
He was a faithful servant of the Church – a faithful servant until the end of his life
As Rod said “this was the Church he loved…he loved the building…the setting…the music and the people”
I was not surprised therefore that he had chosen the hymns and readings for his memorial service
And they spoke so much about his faith
And the hymns particularly proclaim his faith so strongly

“Praise my Soul the King of Heaven” could not be a finer way to start a service
It was written by Francis Henry Lyte and speaks of the love of God and our dependence upon him
As one commentator said
“Think how our lives would change if we walked through our days singing “Alleluia!”
What a wonderful way to start your memorial service

His second hymn “All things bright and beautiful”
Speaks of a love of God’s creation
Written by Cecil Frances Alexander, it celebrates the beautiful natural world
Something which Laurie cultivated all his life and which was greatly enriched by his house at Nessfield
He was “never happier” than when in his garden

His final hymn, which we shall sing shortly, is boldly entitled “How Great Thou Art”
The hymn is written to the words of a Swedish composer called Carl Boberg
Who explained his inspiration as follows:

“It was that time of year when everything seemed to be in its richest colouring; the birds were singing in trees and everywhere. It was very warm; a thunderstorm appeared on the horizon and soon there was thunder and lightning. We had to hurry to shelter. But the storm was soon over and the clear sky appeared. When I came home I opened my window toward the sea. There evidently had been a funeral and the bells were playing the tune of “When eternity’s clock calls my saved soul to its Sabbath rest”. That evening, I wrote the song, “How Great Thou Art [O Store Gud]””

This hymn seems to encapsulate everything

Inspired by the natural world, it too is a proclamation of God’s glory

And, in perfect keeping with today, the bells had been playing the When eternity’s clock calls my saved soul to its Sabbath rest”

Today that call comes to Laurie’s soul and he could not have been judged more perfectly

Laurie came to Bolton Priory because he loved it and, no doubt, because it is a Prayer Book Church

And has its own distinct language and liturgical cycle

A cycle which has been abandoned, in part, by the Church of England and indeed by the Roman Catholic Church too

But which is still preserved in the Book of Common Prayer

Laurie died on the 15th February

At the end of the season of Epiphany and just at the beginning of a liturgical season which is referred to as the “Gesima’s”

The “Gesima’s” are Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima and mark the three Sundays before Lent

And are a preparation for Lent itself

At Septuagesima, seventy days before Easter, we give thanks for God’s creation, just as Laurie has chosen to do in this service

At Sexagesima, sixty days before Easter, we are called upon to examine our spiritual health just as he did as member of the congregation

And finally, at Quinquagesima, we are meant to seek forgiveness of our sins

This may seem antiquarian but, on the other hand, how many of us have prepared ourselves properly?

How many of us have prepared ourselves for coming into God’s Kingdom?

I am sure that Laurie did just this and I salute his faith and his witness today

And so as we give thanks for Laurie’s life today

We give thanks for all his blessings and for those whom he blessed in his earthly life

But we give thanks for his faith which carried him through his long earthly life and prepared him for life in God’s heavenly Kingdom

Just as Laurie was prepared, so might we follow his example, and prepare ourselves too

Ready, like him, to proclaim God’s glorious Resurrection

And say “My God, how great thou art”