Sunday, July 08, 2012

Cry God for Andy, Scotland, and St Andrew!

Not since 1938 has a Briton reached the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. And not since 1936 has one won it. No doubt if Andy Murray triumphs today, it will be hailed a Scottish victory, which Alex Salmond will then appropriate to the armoury of his battle for independence (which also includes Glasgow hosting the Commonweath Games and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014, not forgetting Sir Sean Connery and the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn). There’s nothing like national pride to boost nationalist fervour.

Should Murray lose, of course, it is likely to be portrayed as yet another British defeat to be added to the long and sorry decades of national deflation and disappointment, which Mr Salmond will no doubt put down to the London-centric myopia of Wimbledon. The body language in the Royal Box between Scotland’s First Minister and the UK’s Prime Minister will be interesting to watch.

But it would be fitting – not to say rather neat – for Murray to win Wimbledon in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, for Virginia Wade won it for Britain in 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Yes, Jonathan Marray won the men's doubles final yesterday (the first for 76 years). But, well, it’s not quite the same national glory when half the team is Danish. Follow up the glorious Diamond celebrations with a Wimbledon victory in the men’s singles, and follow that with a haul of Gold medals for team GB at the British Olympics, and David Cameron might be able to bask in a little reflected glory.

Only joking.

By all accounts Andy Murray is a Glaswegian Roman Catholic, deeply spiritual man, a believer in the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ.

We’ve heard nothing from Cardinal Keith O’Brien: he may very well be clutching his Rosary Beads today, but the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has used his Pulpit-in-the-Sun to compose a prayer for the occasion:
Loving God we are so filled with hope by the Wimbledon final today! Guide Andy Murray in the choices that come to him with every ball. Make us all the best that we can be, by your Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ, to the glory of God our Father. Amen.
That's nice.

Of course, such a prayer would be utterly otiose if Murray were rubbish at tennis. One must be a very fine player indeed to reach a Wimbledon final, and that is all that counts. But when God-given gifts of sporting prowess, mental capacity and physical endurance are complemented by spiritual faith, great things are possible – even against the Goliath of tennis Roger Federer.

As the nation holds its collective breath – that is, the whole United Kingdom – the Scot will point to the heavens muttering his private prayers in unison with his fellow countrymen. But the English, Welsh and Northern Irish of all faiths and none will also be uttering incantations of hope. We will feel his pride, wonder at his flourish, and clench our teeth as he struggles and grimaces for every point.

We long to celebrate in delirium, to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Just for today, Andy Murray is the heart of the nation. May God be with him.


Blogger Youthpasta said...

Your Grace, Fred Perry won the Wimbledon Men's Singles title last in 1936, not 1934.

8 July 2012 at 09:54  
Blogger DeeDee99 said...

What a cringingly dreadful 'prayer' from Sentamu. Does he really think that is an appropriate subject matter .... I thought he was a better man than that.

8 July 2012 at 10:15  
Blogger BJ said...

Bread and circuses - and God.

All we need now is a bit of sunshine - if you wouldn't mind having a word YG.

8 July 2012 at 11:02  
Blogger Matthias said...

ah m I am an Australian but I hope that Murray wins. When i saw his reaction after he won -pointing up to the sky I wodnered if he was a Christian.
I think quite a few got that message.
What was it that was passed to Eric Liddell before he ran his great race ( and ran an even greater race as a Missionary in China) "He who honours me ,I also will honour"
Even if he loses -I pray that Murray will cointinue his true sportsman ship

8 July 2012 at 11:07  
Blogger Dick the Prick said...


Err...lowers head, stares at the ground, shuffles feet, come on Roger! It's a bit rude perhaps but i've been a fan of Roger's for years, I think he's got a beautiful game and it's a pleasure to watch whereas Andy kinda bores me.

8 July 2012 at 11:13  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

And I cannot forget Mr Murray's anti-English comments, so as far as I'm concerned - anyone but Murray.

8 July 2012 at 11:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Article: "By all accounts Andy Murray is a Glaswegian Roman Catholic, deeply spiritual man, a believer in the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ."

Let's not hold any of that against him. :)


8 July 2012 at 11:45  
Blogger IanCad said...

I'm sorry YG but professional sport is the opiate of the masses.
Here we have a duel between a bratty poison dwarf and an ice-cold foreigner.
To borrow a quip from Henry Kissinger: "Too bad they both can't lose."

8 July 2012 at 12:33  
Blogger Old Blue Eyes said...

Yes I too hope that Murray wins today but it will spoil my day if he doesn't for quite frankly he doesn't deserve the support of any Englishman.

8 July 2012 at 12:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Now lets see. One’s accumulator for today is for Murray to win, King Salmon I to be carried off with a coronary and for it to stop raining, at least somewhere in the the UK.

Talk about dreaming the impossible dream...

8 July 2012 at 12:35  
Blogger Old Blue Eyes said...

That should have read "will not spoil my day"

8 July 2012 at 12:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Think you had it right the first time, Frank

8 July 2012 at 12:45  
Blogger Michele said...

Andy Murray is referred to as a Scot (Brit) by that bastion of fair play and equality, the BBC. While Murray's win (an Englishman) is a triumph for Britain!!

Stuff it - go Federer!!

8 July 2012 at 13:00  
Blogger non mouse said...

David Cameron might be able to bask in a little reflected glory.

Only joking.

Nice one, Your Grace :)

Och well ....I have a soft spot for Glasgow and the Bonnie Banks.

Good luck, to that lad.

[[This 'edit' thing is a boon... thank you, YG]]

8 July 2012 at 13:25  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...


8 July 2012 at 13:39  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
What edit thing?

8 July 2012 at 13:59  
Blogger Johnny said...

What a bore it will be when/if he wins. Hyperbole overload. Bah!

8 July 2012 at 14:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Only you Mr Cranmer could use a Wimbledon Final to poke fun at both Catholicism and Anglicanism and generally mock the prayer.

I'll leave issues of Anglo-Scottish realtionships and Cameron's Prime Ministerial abilities toone side.

It's a game of tennis. Just enjoy and may the best player win - and it's three Hail Mary's and one Our Father from me that's it's the Catholic lad fro Glasgow.

8 July 2012 at 15:21  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oh, and just for len, a reminder the Our Father contains the clause - 'Thy Will be Done', lest he thinks I believe prayer is rooted in Babylonian 'magic'.

8 July 2012 at 15:24  
Blogger Oliver Nicholson said...

Why has no one thought of pre-empting 700 years of Bannockburn with 500 years of Flodden next year (9th September to be precise).

8 July 2012 at 16:12  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Your Grace, being profoundly indifferent to all sporting events everywhere without prejudice or preference, I was curious to see what your take is on the "world of sports." Not that I'm unsympethic to such excitements and since Canada doesn't have the proverbial dog in this race, accept my well-wishes to you and your flock. Far better than cheering-on a bloody bull fight or even bloodier antics of football hooligans on the fields and stands, I'd say.

I did come out with a little nugget, though. I had never come across the word otiose anywhere and had to look it up to see if it wasn't a typo caused by spills of port and cigar ash on your keyboard. I will hopefully remember this word and judiciously fire it for effect, chortling at those who pretend to know what it means.

8 July 2012 at 17:20  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Yeah, hey, people, what "edit thing"?

8 July 2012 at 17:21  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


being profoundly indifferent to all sporting events everywhere

And you call yourself an American. Disgraceful.


8 July 2012 at 17:32  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Inspector has been called ‘otiose’. Have now looked it up and am not at all impressed...

8 July 2012 at 17:35  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, I call myself Canadian and from time to time, when my friends get fired up over hockey or American football and throw parties with lots of good kosher food, plenty of booze and couches to crash on, I google the event just to be able to exhange a few seemingly knowledgable words or to make sure I don't wind up chering the wrong team or applying rules to the wrong game. My brain erases the information after each event and I must repeat the procedure with every season. Small price to pay for a good party with no wives around to demand attention to problems or insist on make-work projects in the garage or back yard.

8 July 2012 at 17:46  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I might have heard the word applied to me as well, come to think of it now, Inspector, but would have confused it for a badly-pronounced "odious."

8 July 2012 at 17:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi, that’s it. That was the word – ‘odious’ !

8 July 2012 at 18:08  
Blogger Tony B said...

So much for prayer

8 July 2012 at 18:26  
Blogger Old Blue Eyes said...

Prayers didn't do much good. Andy got Rogered.

8 July 2012 at 18:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Perhaps if a Briton can win Wimbledon in this man’s lifetime, a grateful nation should give him a peerage and suitable mansion, together with a sizeable income for life.

Geldof was given a damn knighthood, not for flying into Africa several times and being the richest man around for hundreds of square miles, but for managing to squeeze every last penny out of a telethon watching public.
Without any noticeable decrease in his own fortune, one might add...

8 July 2012 at 19:01  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"Yes, Jonathan Marray won the men's doubles final yesterday (the first for 76 years). But, well, it’s not quite the same national glory when half the team is Danish."

Another demonstration that we work best with our European neighbours - so break out the old Kosovan national anthem and the blue flags.

BTW I'd lay off the Henry V stuff - the Scots were allies of the French at the time.

8 July 2012 at 19:19  
Blogger Peter Thomas said...

I notice he's a Scot again now that he's lost. But isn't it a little pointless praying for such trivialities as a win for someone at tennis, or any sport? I rather think God doesn't take sides in such matters. In any case, I guess Andy Murray is the best that he can be, which does answer Archbishop Sentamu's prayer.

8 July 2012 at 19:44  
Blogger anna anglican said...

Andy didn't win, but it was a wonderful game. And Pippa was there too...

8 July 2012 at 20:10  
Blogger len said...

Well I suppose everyone wants to be associated with a winner.
It would have been nice if Andy had 'carried it off',but not this time.

A true' winner' in a far more important struggle was the Lord Jesus Christ who defeated sin and Death on the cross of Calvary.
It is an honour and a privilege to be identified with Him.

Prayer certainly works when it is aligned with the known Will of God.

8 July 2012 at 22:10  
Blogger Jon said...

So, he's a good Catholic Lad but he's working on the Sabbath. How flexible yours and his biblical interpretations are! Exodus 35 verse 2 is pretty cut and dried!

Once more, a Christian saying "do what I say, not what I do".

8 July 2012 at 22:24  
Blogger Jon said...

BTW - I'm not endorsing death for working on the Sabbath (before Dodo pops up), I'm just noting that it's yet another instance of "a la carte" Christianity.

8 July 2012 at 22:27  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


As Jesus said :
"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."
(Mark 2:27).

And as Dodo says:
"Get a life."

8 July 2012 at 23:34  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Jon, Sabbath is a Saturday. It's also Jewish. For Christians the idea of sabbath is a day of rest that is not specified. How else do you think vicars are able to do their job?

8 July 2012 at 23:44  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

Sportsmen praying.

It is the usual atheist mistake to think they are praying to win.

Often they are asking for God's help in giving their best, sometimes they pray to avoid injury.

Congratulations to Federer and well done Andy. Scotland is proud of you and when the English have forgotten you, you will remain one of us.

9 July 2012 at 00:11  
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9 July 2012 at 06:36  
Blogger Jon said...

Dodo and Youthpasta.

Funny. Eric Liddell didn't feel that way. Who is right, you guys, or Eric?

And what's more, given that your eternal souls are on the line here, or at the very least your temporal existence, are you really willing to take the gamble?!

9 July 2012 at 10:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


I'd worry about your own eternal souls if I were you, not those of others.

Why does Eric have to be right or wrong? He followed his conscience and Andy Murray his.

9 July 2012 at 13:41  
Blogger Jon said...

Because, Dodo, Mr Liddell believed that the word of God was immutable and unchanging. If he was right, and the penalty for breaching the Sabbath should have been death, then the same law applies to Andy Murray as a Catholic, surely? (Since I'm assuming God hasn't spoken via Sir Cliff and issued new instructions).

You're mad keen on universal rules. It's funny how many exceptions you can find for people you agree with though, isn't it?

9 July 2012 at 14:10  
Blogger parepidemos said...

Whilst Your Grace is correct that Andy Murray is a believing Catholic Christian, you are mistaken as to his origin. Andy hails from the town of Dunblane some miles from Glasgow and the good people of Dunblane would not appreciate being called 'Glaswegians'.

As a sad aside, Andy Murray was present in Dunblane Primary School during the massacre of 1996.

It is regretful that he did not win on Sunday, but the nation is still rightly proud of him,

9 July 2012 at 16:23  
Blogger parepidemos said...

Jon, I take it that you are aware the Sabbath runs from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday; ask any Jew if you wish verification. Ergo, Andy Murray did not break the prohibition by playing in either the semi-final or the final.

9 July 2012 at 16:29  
Blogger Tommy said...

Anyone but England Andy was soundly beaten by the better player, I will buy some Swiss cheese to celebrate.

9 July 2012 at 22:07  
Blogger Jon said...

Parepidemos - I am aware, yes. As long as he never plays a match on Saturday then, eh? Oh wait - he did.

I think you know you're obfuscating here because you've opened a loophole for yourselves so you can go shopping and go about your everyday business in contravention of one of the ten commandments.

It amuses me the lengths which the Church will go to permit certain elements of modern life which contravene clear biblical teaching, and yet the lengths it will go to to justify its few remaining "principles" on "biblical" grounds.

10 July 2012 at 11:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Best quote on the matter the Inspector has seen about your man

“He did not cry because he lost.

He lost because he could cry”

11 July 2012 at 17:11  

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