At the age of 35, God has hung up His magic cleated shoes after the last match of His career, having scored 15 of Toulon’s 18 points against Castres’ 10 in the National Final of the French 2014 Top 14 Rugby tournament. I was there when they glorified my Lord. So were 80,173 other worshipping believers and poor competing deluded unbelievers in the Stade de France last night, besides the untold millions glued to their TV and other electronic screens. Jonny Wilkinson of the famous Twickenham poster “We Believe in God : His Name is Jonny !”, mentioned earlier in this Blog, used that left foot unfailingly to transform four penalties and his signature drop-kick opportunity into winning points. I have never before witnessed worship like that which followed the match. It had begun with a helicopter hovering over the stadium to allow French army commandos to descend and deliver the trophy that awaited the winners, and ended in a musically coordinated pyrotechnical apotheosis of Big Bangs and Celestial Illuminations.
A French editor, Christophe Barbier, wrote an “Ode à Jonny”, calling him “a demi-god, greater than Hercules, Apollo and Samson”. He was half-right.