THE BLUE ENSIGN, a Devotion for 9 August 2017 Anno Domini
(taken from the December 2003 edition of Logos of St. Andrews by Bp Jerry Ogles)
“ And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly”.
(Isaiah 5:26 all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The name, Titanic, conjures up magical memories of by-gone grandeur and almost miraculous feats of Naval Science and Engineering. The RMS Titanic, the largest ocean-going vessel to ever sail the high seas, was the embodiment of the national pride of the British Empire and of the prestigious White Star Line.
The Titanic was even given the privilege of flying the Blue Ensign, a blue flag with Union Jack affixed in the upper left field – an honor and tribute afforded vessels of special worth to the Commonwealth of Great Britain. This grand vessel was touted by her Captain, E.J. Smith, as being “unsinkable.” As a matter of fact, when asked by a news reporter if the Titanic could be sunk, the good Captain responded, “Sir, God, Himself, could not sink the Titanic.” These proved vain and prideful words, for the Master of the Seas presided over the sinking of this glorious idol of the British Empire only four days after these words were spoken. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18.
On that fateful night of April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on her starboard bow. Within 2 hours and forty minutes, this vessel sank hard by the bow and slipped beneath the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic bearing with her the souls of more than 1500 persons as the band played, and the company sang, “Nearer, my God, to Thee.”
There were many whose lives, though flamboyant, were unremarkable prior to the sinking; however, many of these same souls exhibited rare courage and chivalry in the moments preceding their tragic ending. Many gave up their own life jackets to women and children, some refused to board a life raft so long as there were women and children who required accommodation, and then there was the ship’s band (accustomed to playing at fancy balls), at the moment of crisis, now selflessly playing the funeral dirge for hundreds of perishing souls.
I have always been fascinated by man’s utter disregard for God and His creatures until the moment in which calamity strikes. Why not live each day as if it were the sinking of our souls? Why not turn to the Master of the Seas and Land, and of all the glittering galaxies of Heaven, while the time is abundant to the purpose?
The Titanic carried to her Ocean grave, the souls of 1522 men. She went to that Ocean grave with her Blue Ensign neatly tucked away in one of her many compartments. Shall we likewise perish with our ensign neatly folded and tucked away in a bay compartment? or shall we fly our colours gladly as we muster for the daily Battle of Life? Why not? “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” (Luke 12:35-36)