It was a lovely May day, but with a strong N.W. breeze, as we walked along the promenade. The wind caused a choppy sea, and the sun glinted the white-crested waves. On the distant horizon a ship resembling an aircraft carrier appeared, but on coming closer it was a huge iron-ore vessel, with the bridge at the stern. These ships carry a load of 160,000 tons of iron-ore for use in the local steelworks. As it drew nearer and nearer one could see two sturdy tugs at the bow, and one at the stern, shepherding and constraining this huge ship. Actually, if the carrier is travelling at 12 knots, it takes seven miles to slow it down to a stop. The pilot was already on board, and the three tugs negotiated this huge carrier through the narrows into the harbour, and safely berthed it.
How like the church in its voyage from earth to heaven across the choppy waters of life. With the Pilot on board, and pastors and elders, either in front leading and shepherding, or behind encouraging, she is brought to her desired haven. A poet who has since entered his rest wrote, “Safe into the haven guide, O receive my soul at last.” And the Psalmist wrote this (Ps 107:30)—
Then are they glad, because at rest
And quiet now they be:
So to the haven He them brings,
Which they desir’d to see.
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