Friday, August 19, 2011
On the Bridge
Of the all the places on Earth where I feel most alive and free, one is on the bridge of a cruise ship. I’ll never forget the first time, I experienced the privilege of being there. It was many years ago on the first of several two-week Caribbean cruises. Ships were different back then—with an elegance far more reminiscent of the Titanic’s formality, than today’s Carnival party.
As we unhooked a chain and let ourselves into a restricted area, off-limits to passengers, my mom and I chatted nervously about being caught. We had no more than turned around after rehooking it, intending to make our way toward the bridge, when the first officer mysteriously appeared. He glared at us.
“Stop! You must not come here,” he said sharply with a strong Norwegian accent.
“But Chief Officer Sr. Svein Pettersen invited us,” I replied.
A smile spread across the navigator’s face as he kindly said, “Oh sorry. Of course, you may come in.” About that time, Svein appeared in the doorway with a grin on his face. “Welcome, welcome. I’m glad you came,” he said as he waved us inside.
That began my enchantment with being on the bridge--seeing our course charted, watching as orders were given and followed, and staring out the huge glass windows at the immense body of water before us. By the next time we sailed with him, Svein had been promoted to Captain and once again invited us to the bridge, where he reigned supreme. Even in the dining room, the Master's sovereignty on board ship was undisputable.
In 1995, after an absence of many years, we sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas where Svein just happened to be the Captain. Before the formal Captain’s Dinner, he invited his table guests out on the flying bridge to watch us sail from St. Marteen. He especially wanted to show us how this massive 73,937-gross tonnage, 880-foot-long ship could maneuver sideways--parallel to the dock—as we departed.
Once underway, I went inside and stood in front of the glass windows looking out over the ocean. That unobstructed view, as far as the eye could see, was every bit as magnificent as I remembered. My relationship with Svein gave me privileges on board ship that few ever experience. Even the mention of his name gave me access to an area hidden to most individuals.
The name of Jesus opens up privileges in the spiritual realm that otherwise can’t be accessed. From the Bible’s book of Joel (2:32), to Acts (2:21), to Romans (10:13) the Word of God teaches that whoever calls on the name of Jesus “will be saved.”
Some people may not be convinced we need saving. Consider this: The underlying problem is our own self-deception. Recognizing appropriate authority keeps us out of trouble. When we think we (or some other human-conceived form of god) are in control of our own destiny—we essentially call the Creator a liar and usurp His authority. That’s the sin of pride—the root of selfishness and the sin from which most (if not all) others stem.
So, the most important thing in calling on the name of Jesus is to admit His supreme authority and to be honest with ourselves about the need to surrender our will to His. When we don’t, we deceive ourselves and block our relationship with the Fountainhead of peace.
The rules of logic support this truth. Monday’s post shows how.