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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Falling off a cliff

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, was speaking at York University the other night.

He told the following story:

A man out walking by the coast fell off a cliff. On the way down, after a couple of hundred feet a shrub or tree broke his fall. He managed to grab a branch, and there he was, suspended a thousand feet above a gorge, with only the branch preserving him from certain death.

In a predicament like this, he thought to himself, a prayer might be worth a try. He cried out, “Help! Help! Is there anyone there?”

A deep voice from the clouds replied, “Yes.”
The man looked around, couldn’t see anyone, and said, “Who is this?”
The voice replied, “This is God.”
After a moment, the man asked, “Can you help me?”
“Yes,” God replied; “Let go of the branch. About twenty feet below you is a ledge. From there you’ll be able to make your way down to safety.”

The man was silent for a minute, and then he called out, “Is there anyone else there?”

2 Responses to “Falling off a cliff”

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    Billy Connolly told that one decades ago. He also told this one:

    A guy is on the ground getting ready for his first solo parachute jump and as he walks out to the plane he starts getting nervous and says to the instructor “What happens if my chute fails”. The instructor replies “It never happens” but the guy gets persistent and finally the instructor says “If it does happen pull the emergency chute”. So the guy is happy until they are going up in the aeroplane and then he says to the instructor “What happens if both chutes fail”. The instructor replies “It never happens, you never get both chutes failing”. Again the guy persists until the instructor replies “If that happens all you can do is put your hands together and pray to god of parachutists Allah”. The guy gets up and jumps out of the plane and sure enough his main chute fails and he thinks to himself What now, what now? and remembers, Ah yes, emergency chute and pulls the emergency chute and sure enough it also fails and he thinks What now what now? and he remembers and he puts his hands together and calls “Allah! Allah! Save me,” and then a big black hand comes out of a cloud, catches him and lowers him gently to the ground. “Thank God for that” he says and a big black foot goes squelch.

  2. Dick says:

    An archbishop who nicks his material from Billy Connolly. Maybe there’s hope for the Church of England after all…

    jb says: Remember that advice about not reading too much into something, Dick.