Originally scheduled for June 16
of the most striking pictures from World War II concerns the sinking
of the German battleship Bismark. After she was sunk, British
warships moved in to rescue survivors. The photo shows the German
sailors in the water reaching for the ropes hanging down from the
British cruisers. Half an hour before this picture was taken, those
sailors were the enemy. They served on the ship which sunk HMS Hood,
the pride of the Royal Navy. Vengeance was the order of the day. Now
they were fellow sailors, members of the brotherhood of seamen
everywhere. A sailor is a sailor. So it was that the British sailors
threw the ropes down to their fellow sailors below, and attach
them to the rails of their ship.
metaphorical way we are very much like those sailors. We start out
thinking our ship is unsinkable but soon find ourselves sinking in
the sea of sin. If we are to maintain hope, we must look around and
find another ship where the sailors are holding a rope for us to
grasp. We swim, if you will, to salvation. You might ask why Christ
“throws us a rope.” To continue the metaphor, here are some reasons:
He is a
sailor just like us — that is to say, he is human as we are human.
Therefore he knows our weaknesses and can sympathize with us.
knows our peril — the temptations of sin, for he has been tempted as
we are tempted.
all, he rescues us because of God’s great love for his children.
we were his enemies; now, in peril, we are his brothers.
Communion is the commemoration of our rescue. Our lifeline is God’s
grace. He asks us to remember what he did.
us to remember his death on the cross, the price paid for our
us to remember his body, nailed to that cross, suffering for us. He
asks us to remember his blood, shed for us.
us to take communion in a worthy manner. If you want to be rescued,
you have to be swimming towards the rope, not away from it. In
communion you should be examining your self and turning to the
source of your salvation.
Captain of the good ship Grace has had his sailors throw us the
lifeline. We remember that in communion; may we help rescue those
around us who also need a rope.
(click on picture to enlarge)