Well it’s the Easter season already, that annual celebration of chocolate and bunny rabbits … reminds me of once when the ship was deployed over Easter, so I decided to show the film ‘The Passion of The Christ’ (Mel Gibsons epic film, which was quite graphic in its portrayal of Jesus suffering). I thought I’d show it on Good Friday whilst we were at sea, seemed appropriate to me. Anyway I put some posters up around the ship, to let the lads know it was happening. One lad saw me in the passageway and said ‘Chief, why are you showing a horrible film like that on Good Friday ?” …. I was about to explain when another older Leading Hand who was with the lad cuffed him round the ear and said’ Don’t you worry Chief, I will sort him’ …

The ship had been taking part in a NATO operation called ‘Autumn Train’ where we exercised a major resupply of Norway, during the Cold War (this was in the mid 1980s). This entailed bringing a huge convoy over from America. In amongst all the troop carriers, merchant ships, frigates and destroyers etc was one of the American massive old second war battle ships, USS Iowa … we were all in line astern, with us directly behind Iowa when she fired a broadside … it was an amazing sight with her 16 inch guns firing together, and the ship actually travelled sideways through the water such was the power of the guns. We then fired our single 4.5 inch gun … not quite the same effect . Anyway after we had conducted all the landings in Norway we went alongside in Bergen, there was ice in the harbour … someone had a great idea to do a sponsored swim for Ships Charities. So we all mustered on the upperdeck in our speedos (it was the 1980s after all), the scrambling net was over the side and the ships boats in the water ready to get everyone out of the icy sea. No one wanted to be first. I had this flash of inspiration that if I jumped in first then the boat would get me out of the water very quickly. So in I went, and virtually straight into the boat … then everyone else followed and had a longer wait in the water before being pulled out.

Back to that Good Friday film … many folk don’t really know what Easter is all about, they seriously think its about bunnies and chocolate, but it’s the culmination of Gods plan to sort us out, through Jesus death for us … taking our place for all the bad stuff we have done and giving us opportunity to sort out our relationship with God. If that still makes you none the wiser, why not come along to Church this Easter and find out? I recounted the story of jumping into the sea at Bergen because someone had to go first. If you are worried that if you go to Church your mates and your family might think you are a bit weird, sometimes we just have to go for it. If you are curious, wondering what its all about, then there is only really one way to find out and that’s jump in and give it a go, ask all those awkward questions … so why not get along to Church, google the real meaning of Easter (or something) on line, chat to your local vicar or anyone who goes to Church or drop us an e mail … Try and find out what Easter is really about … bunnies and chocolate are good … but that is NOT why its called GOOD Friday … it’s because as terrible as that day was, and Jesus really went through it, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter.


Image Credit: Aaron Burden