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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)

TITLE: April 14, 1912
By Marita Vandertogt


April 14, 1912 it began, and on Sunday April 15, 1912 it was finished.

The band is said to have played the hymn, Nearer My God To Thee, as the ship went down. None of the musicians survived. It was said that people gathered around a piano in the ship’s saloon earlier that evening , before any hint of what was to come, and sang hymns. And that the memory of singing these words of faith, was what may have kept some calmer than they may otherwise have been as the chaos began for survival. The band moved to the ship’s deck, and kept on playing, until the belly of the boat gave up and sank below the water.

Not exactly a church, and not exactly a church service in the way we’d define one. But nonetheless, this group of people,focused on an eternal God, voices moving together in words that captured,for them, a Biblical Truth that would carry most from the deck of this enormous ship, to the very portals of Heaven, is a church. Not traditional or conventional in any sense of the word. There were no collection plates or three point sermons. No greeters at the door, and no special story time for children.

But there was unity for those who shared the same belief, there was support as each one’s courage strengthened the other. From reading the few accounts I did, I can only imagine what those left behind on the ship’s deck, must have felt. But I’m sure the comfort of a hymn, played by some probably with heartfelt gusto, by others maybe a little more timorous, was what kept them able to face the inevitable dark waters with dignity and hope.

A regular Sunday morning service doesn’t face this kind of immediate danger. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t the potential of a constant iceburg of threat out there for her. A threat to being submerged by a different kind of water, to maybe not having enough life boats on hand, in the spiritual sense, if confronted with the events that Revelations speaks of to come.

And how close am I to a Titanic situation in the waters of my own life. I need to stay with those people, around the piano in the boat’s saloon, listening to the hymns and Words that would later be their strength.

Church, for me will be the ship that I’ll look to to carry me over my personal rough waters. A place of strengthening, of encouragement, of sharing, of being held up in a lifeboat of fellowship. She may be imperfect, like the Titanic, but she’s blessed by God to carry her passengers safely to the other side. This is a ship of whose passenger list I’m happy to be on. Who knows what lies ahead, but I do know that the one Who lies at the head will bring me safely to shore.

Those musicians playing Nearer My God To Thee on the deck of that unsinkable boat, created a makeshift place of worship, a temporary church for those literally facing death around them. It must have taken enormous courage to stay in place, to continue to play this hymn that strengthened so many in the final moments of their life. This is a true Church in every meaning of the word.

God designed the church for His people, a strong and sturdy ship to get us safely to the other side, providing we continue to build it to hold against the iceburgs that may come our way some day.

“Nearer My God To Thee”. May that be the compass that guides us there.

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This article has been read 749 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Peter Stone12/13/07
Wow, this was great. After introducing the Titanic's last moments, I was so impressed with how you drew parallels between it and the church, and how the church is the boat that gives us passage to heaven.
Please note that (as I understand it), an article such as this should not use contractions such as 'doesn't' (which belong in dialog). I believe 'does not' would work better.
Joanne Sher 12/14/07
Excellent job of making the connections for us. Definitely gave me much to ponder.
Marilyn Schnepp 12/16/07
You have taken something tragic and given it meaning...and I hadn't heard of the band playing "Nearer my God to Thee" on the deck of the ship as it went down (Which to me was very touching)... giving us insight into The Church. Very enlightening!
Jan Ackerson 12/19/07
Very creative use of the topic; I enjoyed reading this very much.

There were a number of comma issues, mostly unnecessary commas that sometimes interrupted the flow of the piece.

Now I have that beautiful old hymn in my mind--how nice!
Temple Miller12/19/07
Wow, wonderful controlling metaphor. I loved it.
Loren T. Lowery12/19/07
I read this as a devotional with great allegories. It put me in the mind of Katherine Ann Porter's "Ship of Fools" which, if read deeply, parallels many of the lives and incidents related to what happened to the Titanic and her passengers on that fateful April 14th day.
As a devotional it is encouraging, leaving the reader much to consider.
Paula Titus 12/19/07
"And how close am I to a Titanic situation in the waters of my own life." - Brilliant, thank you.
Sara Harricharan 12/19/07
Great comparisons here! This is truly something I have not thought of before. Thank you for sharing this.
Janice Cartwright12/19/07
This one spoke to my spirit -a caution but not a hammer - encouragement with a gentle nudging, and an inspiring example. Sometimes we don't realize that we are depending too much on what we can see, touch, know, in the material world rather than the invisible God who carries us. Thanks so much for this excellent devotional.
Karen Wilber12/19/07
I'd heard this story before, but you gave it new meaning with the words "And how close am I to a Titanic situation in the waters of my own life." Terrific devotional. I'm so glad I read this.