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A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison


Some time ago, A DIY superstore and garden centre opened near my church - although, of course, I never went in. As the congregation at church continued to dwindle, the numbers visiting the centre increased, until, one Sunday, I resolved to visit the store to see for myself what attracted the crowds.

I remember awkwardly approaching the entrance and nearly rushing away when the automatic doors slid open - they never had automatic doors at St Joseph’s. A crowd was listening intently to a man standing atop a checkout.

To my surprise, he talked of the founders and leaders of the great religions. He explained that they had taught on matters of morals and ethics and of Man’s relationship with God. ‘Do you suppose,’ he forcefully continued, ‘that the Ultimate Reality behind the universe thinks only of these spiritual and ethical matters? Has this force also not created the fabric of everyday life: the clothes we wear; the materials from which we construct our homes; the food which we eat? Yet there is scant mention of cookery, interior decoration and garden design in the great religious writings.

‘I tell you, this is because the scope of God’s plan for you all is too vast to be expounded by just a few prophets backed-up by a limited and rigid hierarchy of celestial beings. I come to announce that God has modernised Heaven to comprise a management team leading specialist departments. Furthermore, each department has sent a Specialist Messiah to walk among you.’

An old man wearing a dirty pair of gardening overalls, but with rapture in his face, pushed to the front of the crowd, raised his arms to the heavens and addressed the speaker. ‘Can it be true? Are you the long prophesied Messenger of Garden Design and Maintenance, sent by God?’

The speaker smiled with unearthly tranquillity. ‘He is I.’

At first, I could not believe this to be true. I recalled, however, the wondrous miracles of other Specialist Messiahs. Had not the Lord of Television come forth and banned from the airwaves: snooker; cookery programmes; holiday programmes in which rich celebrities are sent on expensive holidays and then rub my nose in it; and sports which overrun and cause the cancellation of films I was looking forward to seeing? Proof positive that there is a God!

Was not further proof, the arrival of the Lord of Advertising who dealt agonising death and eternal damnation to all undertaking telephone cold calling?

Then there was the Lord of Motoring who was reputed to have turned water into petrol and transformed all speed cameras to stone.

I listened with adulation as God’s plan to use more container planting in small gardens unfolded. My eyes were opened to the sin of deploying garden gnomes.

I realised, as I purchased some holy decking, materials for a water feature and a patio heater, that my life had been transformed for ever.