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I introduced Martin, the other deck cadet on the Irish Wasa, in my previous post. I had never met anyone quite as laidback as Martin before. However, his happy-go-lucky unconventional nature did not go down well with the captain who had never met a first trip cadet quite like Martin before.

Martin. Allegedly studying. Balaclava hiding dodgy haircut. Note the ancient and falling apart cassette tape player on the far edge of the desk. That’s how we listened to music in those days!

When I joined the Irish Wasa I was surprised at Martin’s strange hair style. I discovered that the captain had repeatedly told Martin to get his haircut and finally in exasperation gave him the money for a haircut and sent him ashore to find a barber when the ship was in the UK. Unfortunately, Martin found a pub first where the haircut money came in most useful. When he finally returned to the ship a little the worse for wear and having failed to get a haircut the third mate decided that the best course of action was that he should cut Martin’s hair.

I discovered that the captain first expressed his displeasure at Martin during his first Sunday morning inspection of Martin’s cabin. Martin’s greeting of “morning skipper” did not go down well when the captain entered his cabin. Skippers belong on fishing boats. The captain was also perturbed by the lifebuoy hanging from the deckhead (ceiling), which Martin was part way through painting. Then there was the fact that Martin had neither cleaned nor tidied his cabin in readiness for inspection and was dressed in an item of clothing more commonly worn on the streets of Mombasa.

It was Martin some years later who got me involved in delivering a small ship from Rostock in the then East Germany to Amsterdam. The ship/crew got arrested in Rostock, although this wasn’t Martin’s fault. After three days we were allowed to sail – into a storm. After that little escapade Martin became somewhat of an expert at moving and positioning large floating objects such as oil rigs. The last time I saw him (he now lives in Australia) Martin was captain of the barge that floated out all the concrete caissons for the second Severn River crossing in the UK (now known as the Prince of Wales Bridge/Pont Tywysog Cymru). I drive over that bridge a lot. It is quite an incredible structure. The formerly unconventional deck cadet features in a short video about the bridge from the 90s:

Jesus didn’t build bridges and He wasn’t a seafarer, although He often sailed on Lake Galilee, where He both weathered and calmed storms. Jesus also made waves and caused a few storms, largely with the religious establishment who had never come across an unconventional individual like Jesus before. Somehow, they managed to ignore the reason for His unconventionality – Jesus was God’s Son, the Messiah they had been waiting for.  Their expectations of the long expected Messiah were completely at odds with the Messiah who turned up – and kept turning up with His unconventional ways. I assume that this was the reason that they didn’t believe in Him? Perhaps it is also the reason so many people still do not recognise Jesus. Yet through Him we not only get a glimpse of God, but we find the way to God.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1: 15-17 NASB)

Jesus answered (Thomas), “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7 NIV)