Luke 19 v 1 – 10
Childhood holidays tend to merge into one another and identifying specific years and the age I was at the time is often difficult. However, sometimes a particular event stands out and for whatever reason it presents a clear recollection even after many years. One such occurrence happened to me in the Yorkshire sea side resort of Bridlington.
In my younger days family holidays were always in a caravan in Bridlington or later on, in Morecombe, and I loved them. We usually went towards the end of August and there was always a vague promise of staying on after the intended week, into the Bank Holiday, but I never remember it ever coming to pass, dad always had to get back to work or some other reason always prevented it.
The particular holiday in question must have been in the mid 1950’s; I would have been about six or seven years old. Every Bridlington holiday had to include a sailing trip on the Yorkshire Belle, a pleasure boat that I think still operates today, (probably not due to COVID). It was a large craft, bigger than a fishing boat and big enough to enable passengers to walk around and buy a cup of tea or an ice cream. There was even a man who walked around the deck playing an accordion to entertain the passengers during the hour or so cruise along the Yorkshire coast. On a sunny day it was idyllic as we glided across the water with just the rhythm of the engines throbbing away below decks accompanying the accordion. It was an experience that was repeated many times on subsequent holidays, but on this occasion it turned out to be different.
On disembarking from the Yorkshire Belle we ascended the steps from the harbour up onto the sea front, where usually we ran a gauntlet of photographers who pretended to take your picture, then getting you to pose for a proper picture that they would charge for, but on this occasion we were confronted by a stampede of people running down the footpath towards the amusement arcade.
While mum grabbed my arm in a steel like grip dad asked someone what was going on, had there been an accident, or was there some other emergency?
A man replied, ‘It’s Lobby Ludd , he’s been seen in the arcade’.
Now at the time Lobby Ludd meant absolutely nothing to me and it was considerably later in life that I learned that the local newspaper had resurrected a fictional character that if spotted in a seaside town, would pay out £50 to whoever identified him. Bearing in mind that at that time £50 was more than two month’s wages for most people, all it needed was for someone to say that Lobby Ludd has been spotted in the arcade and the world and his wife would descend on the place armed with their copy of the newspaper to claim their prize.
In order to claim the prize you had to stop the suspected benefactor and say, ‘You are Lobby Ludd and I claim my £50 prize’. Care was needed because it might be the wrong man and that could be very embarrassing.
I think dad could have been tempted to join in the hunt, but mum was not impressed, she couldn’t get to the slot machines or her favourite Bingo stall.
Luke 19 v 1 – 10
I wonder what it was like on the road to Jerusalem when Jesus was travelling that way. There was so much noise and people running around that the Senior Tax Collector Zacchaeus couldn’t do his work. After all it’s difficult to concentrate on counting money when all that commotion going on, besides there might be something in it for him.
I can imagine him going outside and stopping someone to ask what’s going on. Someone told him that it was Jesus of Nazareth who was coming and he would be passing right down the road where they were standing.
Zacchaeus had several problems, he was a tax collector so not well liked, he was in partnership with the Romans so that brought him enemies, he was well known for cheating people out of their money so that didn’t make him popular, and to make matters worse he was unusually short in stature. There was no way that he would get even a glimpse of Jesus as he passed by, unless Zacchaeus found himself a vantage point. A high tree for example.
From his elevated position Zacchaeus had a clear view of Jesus and Jesus had a clear view of Zacchaeus. Jesus knew all about Zacchaeus and all his problems, but it didn’t stop him talking to him, in fact it didn’t stop him eating a meal with him in his house, in fact it didn’t stop him from changing, and reforming , Zacchaeus
Jesus said; ‘Salvation has come to this house today for this man, The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost’.
Zacchaeus was a reformed character giving back the money he had gained illegally along with more of his fortune given to the poor. Jesus didn’t give up on Zacchaeus, he changed him.
Just as Jesus will never give up on us.
Lobby Ludd became a bit of a joke with dad. Many years later when we worked together, if dad saw anyone running down the street he would often say, ‘Aye up lad Lobby Ludd must be about’ and if someone told him something that was obviously a lie, he would say, ‘Aye and I’m Lobby Ludd but you don’t get £50’.
I checked on the internet for the Yorkshire Belle, it is still in service but has been withdrawn for this year due to COVID.