‘Erman the ‘ermit is a recurring character of mine, he tries to escape from the crowds but somehow they always seem to find him! He is usually seen wearing a camp blanket and silly hat…
~ ~ ~
My name’s ‘erman. ‘erman the ‘ermit.
This is my ‘ill. I like my ‘ill, it’s nice and peaceful like. Quiet.
Can I tell you a story ’bout something that ‘appened ‘ere the other day?
I were sat ‘ere on my ‘ill, enjoyin’ the peace and quiet when this bloke comes up the side of me ‘ill and sits down over there.
Well I could see he were ‘ere for the peace and quiet too so I left ‘im alone like. Didn’t want to interrupt.
‘E were clearly upset, like ‘e’d ‘ad some bad news or sommat. You know that look, gazin’ off into the distance.
That said, it’s a reet nice view from me ‘ill so you never know, ‘e might have just been gazin’ off into the distance!
Anyway, where was I?
Oh yes, so we was sat on me ‘ill, just the two of us like, enjoyin’ the peace and quiet when this huge crowd of people comes stompin’ up, chattin’ and laughin’, makin’ a right rumpus.
Well I know I ‘ad that letter published in t’ Galilee Times which ruffled a few feathers like, so I thought they was comin’ to see me about it, this bein’ my ‘ill and all, but no!
They went right past me as if I wasn’t ‘ere, straight up to the other bloke.
Turns out ‘e was some teacher or sommat, and they all wanted to ‘ear what he had to say for ‘imself.
‘e were clearly a bit miffed as ‘e’d come up ‘ere for a bit of peace a quiet like, but he stood up anyway and started tellin’ ’em all these stories. Wonderful things, all about, what was it ‘e called it? Oh aye, the Kingdom of ‘eaven. ‘ow it were a place of peace and beauty.
Well I felt like shoutin’ out that my ‘ill were a place of peace and beauty before this lot came tramplin’ all over it!
But I didn’t. ‘e seemed like such a nice lad I didn’t want to spoil it for ‘im.
After e’d been goin’ for a while another crowd made it up me ‘ill. They’d clearly ‘ad a rough time of it as they was all covered in bandages and the like. But it turned out that they was all sick and poorly and they wanted this Jesus lad to ‘eal ’em.
And you know what? ‘e did! Every last one of ’em, better just like that! Then he carries on talkin’ about this Kingdom of ‘eaven, ‘ow it’s a place where nobody is sick, or dyin’ or even ‘ungry.
Well by this point I were getting’ a bit peckish so I shouts out, “’ave you got some food as well then?”
He stops, looks at me, then turns to ‘is mates and says “Give ’em something to eat then”
Well ‘is mates didn’t like that at all, there was so many people up ‘ere that they’d never be able to feed us all.
I tried countin’ everyone but the kids was all runnin’ about as kids do, and the women was all chasin’ the kids about as they do, fortunately the men was sat there oblivious so I could count ’em fairly simple like. I reckon there must ‘ave been five thousand of ’em at least! ‘ow the ‘eck were we all goin’ to eat up ‘ere on me ‘ill? I mean, I knows the bilberries are quite nice this time of year but that’s not exactly what you’d call a proper meal is it!
While I were countin’, they’d managed to rustle up a few bits of barley loaf and a couple of sardines. Nice idea but not quite enough fer a crowd like this after a long hot day.
Well this Jesus didn’t seem worried, ‘e took the bread, lifted it up over ‘is ‘ead, and prayed a lovely prayer. I can’t quite remember it now, I wish I’d written it down really but I don’t normally ‘ave much need for takin’ notes, what with bein’ an ‘ermit and all.
Anyways, after ‘e’d done this he gave it to ‘is mates and told ’em to start passin’ it round the crowd. I were about ‘alf way back so I weren’t reckonin’ on getting’ much but when they got to me I get a big chunk of bread and nearly ‘alf a fish! And I weren’t the only one!
It were amazin’ really. When we’d all ‘ad enough there were a dozen whackin’ great baskets all full of crumbs left over. I tell you what I didn’t envy whoever ‘ad to carry them back down me ‘ill.
But it got me thinkin’ like. What if this Kingdom of ‘eaven thing really is real? I mean I’d seen it with me own eyes, people bein’ ‘ealed, the ‘ungry bein’ fed.
It reminded me of old Prophet Isaiah.
I do like them prophets, miserable lot most of the time but they ‘ave their moments, much like us ‘ermits really.
Anyways there’s this bit where ‘e says
“Everyone who’s thirsty, come to the water,
And you that’s got no money, come buy and eat,
Come buy wine and milk without money and without price”
Aye, it seems to me that if that’s what the kingdom of ‘eaven is like then I want in.
So I goes up to Jesus afterwards, just as the crowds are goin’, and I asks ‘im what I should do about it, and ‘e says:
“Love God, and love your neighbour”
I said lovin’ God I can do, but love me neighbour? That’s a bit tricky bein’ an ‘ermit, we don’t really ‘ave neighbours!
But ‘e just chuckled, gave me a wink, and wandered off to join ‘is mates.
I sat there in the peace and quiet like, and I suddenly felt a bit lonely.
So I made meself a promise that next time someone came up me ‘ill I’d give ’em a bite to eat. And if they ‘urt themselves on the way down I’d look after them. And if they asked why I were doin’ all that I’d tell ’em about Jesus, about the kingdom of ‘eaven, and ‘ow it weren’t just some distant land but that it were about what we do ‘ere and now to make our world more like God wants it.
Anyways, I’d better get on, this sittin’ quietly doesn’t ‘appen by itself you know. And I think you lot ‘ave got an Hymn to sing, so you’d better stand up and get on with it.