I’ve always been drawn to water and everything nautical. Growing up on the lower Columbia River, near the Pacific Ocean, I was surrounded by it. Averaging nearly eighty inches of rain annually, I was immersed in it. We were joyful when a new pair of knee boots replaced ones that made our wet socks track across Mother’s clean floor. I’ve also always had a boat of some kind. At the earliest moment I could play in the creek on our property, everything that floated became a boat.
At the age of eight, I got my first actual watercraft; a traditional Columbia River double ender lay out boat used for duck hunting. The boat was rotten when my Dad got it for $10 at a garage sale, but it made the perfect pattern and a summer project as I carefully took pieces out, copied them onto good wood, and then replaced it transforming the old boat into my new boat. It served me for many years before it was finally stolen. That boat gave way to another boat, one that I kept for twenty years. Today I have nearly every way to get to water covered from float tube to canoe, raft and drift boat, and even a jet sled. When that isn’t big enough, my friends have me covered with their commercial charter boat.
When I was growing up, I played in the water, while later on I worked on it and sometimes in it. I commercial fished for a spell, deck handed for a time, and even guided a bit. I even debated attending California Maritime Academy or joining the Coastguard during various stages of my life all for the love and lure of all things nautical.
I’m also drawn to stories of the sea and I recently stumbled across a story that I found a parallel to this past week. I want to share what was revealed to me through this story. The story is simply called, At Sea. It speaks of maritime law and describes a ship as a detached fragment of society under whose flag it sails. A wandering chunk of Spain, Britain or Panama. How ever far it travels overseas, it continues to be a fragment carrying the laws, customs, and culture of its home land. On a cruise ship, one sees this very clearly as you can portage around the outskirts of vile countries, bloody from civil or political unrest while you look at it from the distance and sip some fruity drink. This life at sea aboard a chunk of your country might seem lawless or free from laws but it is still governed by the code and laws of the flag it bears.
Take for instance the last case of cannibalism to be tried in Britain. In 1884, the yacht Mignonette was on passage from the place of its building, Essex, to its new owner in Sidney Australia. The yacht took a breaking wave and floundered in the South Atlantic. The four man crew took to a dinghy. On the 24th day adrift in the open ocean, the four mariners, cast lots and the seventeen year old cabin boy drew the short straw. The boy was killed and the captain and remaining crew dined on his remains as a means to survive. Within days, a German ship picked the survivors up and returned them to England. England decided to put these men on trial for the murder of the cabin boy. The defense argued that the Mignonette was a registered Britain vessel on its way to be Australian. When the crimes were committed, they were on a flagless, open boat dinghy on the high seas and in a place of lawless territory. There was no jurisdiction they said. The British court ruled that the officers and law extended whether they were on or off their ship, with flag or no flag and they were sentenced to death. In a turn of events, they were then granted a royal pardon as the population was sympathetic to the ordeal.
My friends and brothers in Christ, do you see the parallel that I see?
Philippians 3:20 (NIV)
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.As sons and daughters of the Most High, we are citizens of the heavenly realm. We are adopted sons and daughters and members of a Royal priesthood and a holy nation. Earth is not our home land but just a sea where we will float until we are picked up and carried home by Christ Jesus at the day of His coming. We are all fragments of that heavenly realm here on earth, complete with the laws, customs, and culture of the Holy One that indwells us. It may seem like a lawless place where we are free to make our own code of right and wrong but we are bound to the code and law of God our Father and that known to us as His truth. One day we will answer for our actions of lawlessness and sin with a sentence of death. Those under the blood and grace of Jesus will receive a Royal pardon and live in the freedom and joy of our home once and for all. It is time to quit hiding the flags of our true origin and run up the banner of the Holy One so that everyone knows from whence we came and to Whom we belong.
In the love of Christ,Eric