Sunday, 26 April 2015

God is a DJ

Sherborne Abbey, Dorset.  Easter Saturday 2015.

I have always liked churches and I am not averse to a 10 minute nap on a pew. Some folk call it meditation.  The calm is welcoming.

I couldn’t get into the Abbey on Easter Saturday, except during a hymn on the half hour and that was 40 minutes away.

Dejected, I read Poem of the Month for April 2015 displayed at the entrance. It read:

The prayer stool:
I leave aside my shoes , my ambition:
Undo my watch, my timetable:
Take off my glasses, my views:
Undip my pen, my work:
Put down my keys, my security:
To be alone with you, the only true God.

It made me wonder who my true God was.

Ten years ago I was a RYA (Royal Yachting Association) instructor skippering a 42ft yacht leaving Dartmouth on passage to Guernsey with five students, as you do.   It was a 14 hour trip, crossing shipping lanes and entering Guernsey through the northern channel with treacherous seas and dangerous rocks.  

As I left the entrance to the river Dart I saw a rope hanging over the side of the boat and quickly jumped to retrieve it before it became entangled on the propeller.  I still had a good turn of speed.  Safely retrieved I slid back into the cockpit my head brushing the corner of the canopy.   I turned to my crew and smiled, they didn’t smile back; blood spattered down my face.

A simple inspection saw a severe gash and I had no alternative but to turn around and return to port.  Leaving my crew disappointed (they had paid £750 each for a weeklong trip to Guernsey, Jersey and Brittany) I made my way to Dartmouth hospital.

The nurse sat me down, looked at the wound and took out a form to complete; name, address etc… She then looked at me and said “Religion?

“Church of Elland Road” I replied.

She looked at me somewhat perplexed and said “I am not sure I have heard of that one”

“What, you have never heard their most famous hymn, ‘Glory, glory, Leeds United, they’re the best team in the land’. They were very big in the 70s but are somewhat in decline now.  Jesus went by the name of Don Reevie and the disciples had names like Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Norman, bites your leg off, Hunter’ “

She sighed, looked at the ceiling and wrote something down.

At the age of 44, I visited a psychiatrist in Harley Street, London. (I first saw him at 28 but that’s for later)  He assured me I was sane and sensible and everything he said seemed to make total sense.  In my search for self I asked him who he thought God was.

“Alex Ferguson” was his reply.  Now, this man is insane how he can possibly help me!

I later saw him on the day Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager of Manchester United.  He was in shock, knowing there would be turbulent times ahead.  Maybe I should become a therapist and help him. Now there’s a thought.

I returned to the boat with 8 stitches, left for Guernsey some 6 hours after my intended departure.  Anyone that knows about tides and currents will also know that leaving 6 hours later makes the passage into Guernsey all  the more difficult and perilous.  It also meant that by the time I arrived in St Peter Port I had been awake for almost 24 hours, very stressed but alive.  

However, my crew were happy and I had avoided a £3,750 refund, something I had never accounted for when setting up a sailing school. I once had five crew in the Azores demanding they, or the skipper leaves.  'Jesus Christ!'  The skipper left and I flew out replacements. When I was naughty, as a child, my mother used to say 'Jesus will pay you back,' .  He did, that incident alone cost £5,000 in flights and compensation.

A few months later I was at the O2 arena, London leaping up and down like a pogo stick along with 17,000 others listening to a band.  The song went like this:

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
It is a natural grace
Of watching young life shape
It’s in minor keys
Solutions and remedies
Enemies become friends
When bitterness ends
This is my church

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
It is in the world I become
Content in the hum
Between voice and drum
It’s in change
The poetic justice of cause and effect
Respect, love, compassion
This is my church
This is where I heal my hurt
For tonight god is a DJ
This is my church

Which band?  Answers on a postcard, please.

And the point I am making is:

May your God go with you.

Have a good week


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