Travel light, especially through the storm.

The ship on which Paul travelled was caught in a terrible storm, provoked by a northeaster blowing from the island of Crete. Nervous and fearful, the ship’s crew would not even eat. Who knows? Maybe they were afraid of the sort of indigestion that arises when one is sailing troubled waters. Here, I recall a Guyanese folk song that, I learned, was born out of bumpy sailing on the Essequibo River. “Itanami goin wuk me belly.”

In order to preserve life, the ship’s crew started, on Day Two, to throw their cargo overboard. On Day Three, out went the ship’s tackle. What would they give up next? Hope, we read, in verse 2. They abandoned all hope of being saved.

Paul, we recall, was unafraid. The eyes of his heart were set on Rome. In a figurative sense, he was seeing Rome on the horizon. The boss had not listened to this inexperienced sailor who advised against sailing, but the  crew was now going to take orders from him. How reassuring it is when, in the midst of danger, there is someone who is not paralysed by fear. Such a person assumes, by common consent, a leadership role.

Relying on instruments that measured sea depth, the sailors feared that the ship would hit rocks and so they tried to jump ship. That would have been the end of them. ‘Stay put,’ Paul told them, and they obeyed.

By then, the apostle had shared his word of assurance from God, that there would be no loss of life. Obviously, Paul’s demeanour communicated his faith in this God of promise, and hence in the promise of this God.

‘Take some food,’ he advised. And they did eat to satisfy the hunger that had built up in them. They needed food, but just enough for the journey. What they did not need would classify as useless baggage- death-inviting weight.

How much dead weight do we carry around, especially in the stormy seasons of life? How often does our insistence on “ I must have this,” “We must do it this way,” “This is what I’m accustomed to; I will not change,” (even when circumstances call for a change in modus operandi ) keep us enslaved to past traditions that have already become obsolete and are about to be thrown overboard, leaving us at a loss to negotiate in new and often turbulent circumstances?

O God, you who are always doing a new thing, keep us trusting in your powerful presence through life’s storms and the changes that they usher in. Make us willing to change where situations demand, to shed habits and prejudices, to give up what we must; for we know that whatever changing circumstances we experience, you stabilize the present., You , God of Peace, who are bigger that everything.

 

  1. One more step along the world I go,
    One more step along the world I go.
    From the old things to the new
    Keep me travelling along with you.

And it’s from the old I travel to the new,
Keep me travelling along with you.

  1. Round the corners of the world I turn,
    More and more about the world I learn.
    All the new things that I see
    You’ll be looking at along with me.

 

  1. As I travel through the bad and good,
    Keep me travelling the way I should.
    Where I see no way to go
    You’ll be telling me the way, I know.

 

  1. Give me courage when the world is rough,
    Keep me loving though the world is tough.
    Leap and sing in all I do,
    Keep me travelling along with you.
  2. You are older than the world can be,
    You are younger than the life in me.
    Ever old and ever new,
    Keep me travelling along with you.

Sydney B. Carter, 1915-2004.

 

 

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