JULY 31, 2006
by Pastor George Van Alstine
âGimmickyâ? is exactly what we need to attract kids to Vacation Bible School, and thatâs why the shipâs in the sanctuary. This yearâs VBS theme is âSonTreasure Island,â? emphasizing the fact that Jesus is a safe harbor from lifeâs stormy seas.
As I was thinking about this, a familiar hymn went through my mind:
âThough the angry surges roll
On my tempest driven soul . . .â?
The chorus affirms triumphantly
âMy anchor holds!â?
And then, I thought of many other familiar hymns built on the storm-at-sea theme:
âThe Solid Rockâ?
âA Shelter in the Time of Stormâ?
âThe Haven of Restâ?
âSend the Lightâ?
And I realized that dramatic storms-at-sea in the Bible were experienced by Jonah (Jonah chapter 1), Jesus (Mark 4:7) and Paul (Acts chapter 27).
Then I had a flashback from my youth. A traveling evangelist who came to our church sang a gospel song about a lost soul drifting on a raft in the sea who saw a ship, and with renewed hope for salvation called out âShip Ahoy!â? I remember that the evangelist sang it with a great deal of dramatic flair, and when he got to the call, he cupped his hand to his mouth and bellowed
The image has stayed with me as an example of how loud and insistent a person crying out to the Lord for rescue would be.
I havenât heard the song in years, but I managed to find it on a Website that features obscure old hymns. Maybe some of you have heard this song. If you havenât, try to imagine the evangelist from my past cupping his hand and shouting
Then at the end of the last two stanzas do the same for
âBLESS THE LORD!â?
Words: M. J. Cartright, before 1900
Music: Daniel B. Towner
I was drifting away on lifeâs pitiless sea,
And the angry waves threatened my ruin to be,
When away at my side, there I dimly descried,
A stately old vessel, and loudly I cried:
âShip ahoy! Ship ahoy!â?
And loudly I cried: âShip ahoy!â?
âTwas the âold ship of Zion,â? thus sailing along,
All aboard her seemed joyous, I heard their sweet song;
And the Captainâs kind ear, ever ready to hear,
Caught my wail of distress, as I cried out in fear:
âShip ahoy! Ship ahoy!â?
As I cried out in fear: âShip ahoy!â?
The good Captain commanded a boat to be lowâred,
And with tender compassion He took me on board;
And Iâm happy today, all my sins washed away
In the blood of my Savior, and now I can say:
âBless the Lord! Bless the Lord!â?
From my soul I can say: âBless the Lord!â?
O soul, sinking down âneath sinâs merciless wave,
The strong arm of our Captain is mighty to save;
Then trust Him today, no longer delay,
Board the old ship of Zion, and shout on your way:
âJesus saves! Jesus saves!â?
Shout and sing on your way: âJesus saves!â?