They say everyone has a double. To have a double and a namesake appear on the same page of a paper is quite disconcerting! A number of friends have been kind enough to point me to various news sites featuring another Anthony Delaney, also 43 years of age – I know I don’t look it 🙂
My homeless namesake was living at Gatwick Airport for months, until magistrates found him in breach of his ASBO and brought it to an end. If you follow the link you’ll even see that they picture Tom Hanks from his overly cute 2004 film The Terminal . I was told by a nurse years ago that I look a bit like Tom Hanks, those of you who know me may agree or disagree? Let me know.
Do you know what came to mind as I read the other Mr Delaney’s sad story – knowing that if Jesus hadn’t put his hand on me and called me to follow him, I could well have ended up in as sorry a state or worse?
‘There but for the grace of God, go I.”
That well worn phrase was coined by my fellow Mancunian the C16th Protestant reformer John Bradford.
Bradford was imprisoned for his faith for many years in the Tower of London (sharing a cell at times with such luminaries as Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer). Whenever he saw a criminal going to be hanged for his crimes, he said, “There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford.”
Bradford himself was eventually burnt at Smithfield. He had been shown in a dream the night before that this would happen. He kissed the wood beforehand, and the stake, before lifting his eyes to heaven and he cried, “O England, England, repent thee of thy sins.”
He told the man dying alongside him, “Be of good comfort, brother, for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night.’
Unlike the other Delaney, I’m not sleeping rough tonight, thank God.
Reading about Bradford reminds me I have so much to grow in, in terms of godliness, prayerfulness and faithfulness.
Both men’s lives remind me, the grace of God really is amazing.