Summary: This is the story of Jonah told from the perspective of a sailor on the boat he sailed on.
September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, honest it really is www.talklikeapirateday.com. And seeing I was preaching on Jonah it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. This is the first sermon that I’ve preached in the first person and I wore a pirates costume.
Arrr mattes, shiver me timbers I have a tale to tell so settle down and pay me heed.
Me name is Omar and I be a sailor. It seems like I’ve always been a sailor you might say I was born into it. You see me father was a sailor as was his father before him. So I am a sailor too although not a very good one, I get a wee bit seasick if you know what I mean. But as long as I can remember there’s always been a deck moving beneath me feet. A sailor is what I’ve always been and a sailor is what I’ll always be.
When the Story began I was mate on a ship called The Wings of the Morning and a fine ship she was too, she had been built in Athens, on the shores of Greece and had beautiful lines and fine handsome rigging. A fine ship and she rode the waves, not rolling much, which was important to me, if you know what I mean.
We had been sailing the Mediterranean making stops along the coastlines of Greece and Macedonia as well as hopping amongst the islands. You know Crete and Cyprus. We were lying to in the port of Joppa while the Skipper was scaring up a cargo for us.
Joppa wasn’t a bad port to be tied up in as far as ports go, I’ve been in worse. It was in the country of Israel, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the water was crystal clear the sand was white and fine like sugar. The sights and the sounds of the market drifted down the streets to the wharves, the smell of fresh baked bread mingling with the smell of the tar that covered the pilings. The sun was bright and the women were beautiful. Arrr, I could have stayed in Joppa for a long time. But it was not to be. The Cap’n arrived and told us that he had found a cargo, that we would be taking a cargo of dates and olive oil to the shores of Tarshish. Tarshish, why Tarshish? There was no place further away then Tarshish. It was where the earth dropped off and even if you didn’t fall over the edge beyond Tarshish there were monsters and dragons and nobody who ever sailed beyond Tarshish ever came back. But that was where the cargo had to go so that’s where we had to go.
They gave me this thing and told me if I pressed the button it would show you a chart. Well shiver me timbers it works. This be Joppa, which is where we were and this be Tarshish where we were taking our cargo.
I put the boys to work loading the cargo and getting everything shipshape for the voyage when this landlubber showed up asking where we was bound for. I told him we were sailing to Tarshish on the tide. He asked if there was any way he could go farther then Tarshish, and I told him there were no further then Tarshish, that beyond Tarshish there be monsters and there be dragons and then you just fall off the end of the world. I mean you just have to look at the chart to see that it’s flat.
The lubber wanted to book passage with us and after talkin’ to the skipper we decided that would be alright and so I asked his name and he told me it was Jonah. For a moment I had some doubts about taking a passenger named Jonah, you see I have kind of a sixth sense, I don’t see dead people but sometimes things don’t feel right and this was one of those times. But a cargo is a cargo whether it be dates or people so we told the swabby to grab his kit and make hisself at home down below with the rest of the cargo.
Well we sailed on the tide and it was a beautiful moonlit night, the stars were bright and just enough of a gentle breeze to fill the sails, which was a good thing, if you know what I mean. And so for three days we sailed toward Tarshish and a beautiful trip it was turning out to be. It was not to last though, on the evening of the third day a storm blew out of no where and nigh on threatened to sink the Wings of the Morning.
It blew hard and it looked like it wasn’t going to let up so I ordered the men to throw some of the cargo over board to lighten the ship, better to arrive without dates and olive oil then to arrive without a ship, if you know what I mean. And as the men worked they cried out to their various gods and a lot of gods there were amongst the boys, but they must have been deaf gods because the storm didn’t seem to be getting any better. It’s no fun when you start you trip by sea and end up travelling by rail, if you know what I mean.