They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
This Lent we will be sharing reflections on the rather loose theme of ‘Pilgrimage’.
The description of the merchants on a storm-tossed ship will resonate with anyone caught in a Channel gale, held outside the walls of Dover Harbour until our ferry could safely enter. The ships in biblical times were smaller than those monsters, smaller even than this Cal-Mac ferry to the Scottish Islands, seen here in her ‘desired haven’, her home port of Mallaig. These ferries venture out in all weathers, as a friend and I found many years ago. We were crossing from Gourock to Dunoon; the waves were crashing around the quay, but there was a small army of workers on their way to the Navy depot on Loch Long. Their calm meant we were not at our wits’ end for long.
May we endure all the storms that await us this Lent. By our air of calmness may we encourage our fellow pilgrims to be calm too. And may we cry unto the Lord in our distress, and always praise him for his goodness. AMEN.