I am standing on the tarmac at Dublin Airport with a sense of resignation at the last-minute changes & delays this budget airline specialises in. I am reminded of a piece I wrote years ago ‘Dreaming, Leaving’ (published in one of my early books of poetry, now out of print). Dublin has been a disappointment to me. I had such high hopes as it was a highlight of the ’92 world tour. I want to record an album here. Fat chance. I want at least to sing & share in one of the churches. Sorry we’re busy, and your name is not Matt Redman (one of the pastors actually said this to me). So, I consider a name change (Sir Matt Ridingman) but think better of it. I won’t be bullied by this once-vibrant culture. I won’t bow to the Almighty Dollar which seems to have taken over. I won’t play their game, I will take my music elsewhere. Jesus said: If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Matthew 10.14
On the plane I am seated next to an Irish musician Richard Jago. We chat. He agrees with me. The musical heart of Dublin has gone west and now resides in Galway he tells me. If I had been privy to this knowledge earlier in the piece, I could now have a master tape in my carry-on bag and a wider sense of satisfaction at goal achieved.
The plane arrives over an hour late in London. My host Rob is there with a grin on his face (fortunately). The website said the plane was on time. Hard evidence suggests otherwise. We both vow never to fly BryanAir ever again. Simple economics suggests we probably will. Rob loans me his 2003 Saab (the Grand Old Lady) and I drive to Torquay the following day, much of it at walking pace thru dense jungle traffic. I wave at a henge of stone (from a distance) and arrive for my sound check with 1min to spare.
Over the weekend I have four events. Friday night & Sunday morning at Barton Baptist (pastor Richard preaches one of the best sermons I’ve heard in a longtime), Sunday night at Okehampton but the jewel in the crown is an evening house concert at Brunel Manor Retreat Centre. It is an elderly group, so my expectations are low (no offence). But the anointing of the Holy Spirit is very strong, and hearts are touched. Heart-warming feedback and I sleep soundly knowing I was in the right place at the right time.