The Cross & Cruise Ships


In the late 1940’s the United States Government commissioned the creation of the S.S. United States as a troop carrier ship. By 1952 it was finished and could travel at 44 knots (aprox. 90 kilometres/hour). She could travel nearly 17,000 kilometres without refuelling and could carry 15,000 troops. She was never used for the purpose it was created for! She became a luxury cruise ship.

Here in Holy Week we recall the Suffering Servant. Jesus took the towel and washed the dirt off his betrayer’s feet. He took the cross   to wash away the grime of sin on the human heart. This Servant King invites us, no commands us, to follow Him. He calls us aboard a troop ship as servants like Him. He sends us out with the words “As the Father sends me so I send you.”

We have much to repent of, as we have turned the Church into a cruise ship for the few while there remains a hurting world outside our gangway. We have changed the ‘go’ of the gospel into a ‘come and get it’. Instead of leading simple trooper lives we choose rather the life of western extravagance which makes us indistinguishable from the society we are called to serve.

We have turned prayer itself into something more resembling ‘room service’, than as a walkie-talkie calling for air support.

Each year we recall Jesus and His cross but do we really intend to pick up our cross and follow Him? I long for this Good Friday and this Holy week to be different. I am tired of looking at the cross and going away with little evidence of it in my life. It is a great challenge to refit the cruise ship for her original purpose and destiny but it is impossible for me to ‘refit’ my own life. “With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.” It may seem radical (which means getting back to the roots) but I need a renovation of my heart. I need to be refitted (made fit) for service. Who knows if enough passengers become troopers again the whole ship may be changed, with God nothing is impossible!

So the simple challenge is this: Would you join me in God’s dry dock for a refit? Maybe we can have a conversation about what it looks like to move from the passengers’ lounge to trooper (servants) quarters. I look forward to any replies.


7 comments on “The Cross & Cruise Ships

  1. Great message Reed. I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes i feel that worship is entertainment and that I am the activities coordinator. Dance classes and rock climing are happing on the fore deck. The pool has had a roof put over it so that the passangers can swim and not get cold! The ship is set to steer by auto pilot with no particular destination other than to drop off some who had had their fill and pick up some new people!

    Man the Battle Stations! – Prepare a boarding party! – Increase to flank speed!.. and change the colour to battle ship grey!

  2. Thanks Reed. Good piece of work.
    The troops ship that became a luxury liner. A great illustration to remind us of our mission and calling.

  3. Oh Reed,
    How much better it is to live and work in the “servants quarters” than to be a simple passenger on a luxury liner. It took Jim and me half a lifetime to realize that call. This world needs more than “pew fodder” and it is up to us to mobilize this latent force for God’s work in the world. Christians are His hands and feet and with us He will work. Without us He is reticent to do so!
    Blessings to you and Linda and all of our colleagues in Uptown. We love and miss each of you and wish for you the most blessed of Easters!
    Frankie & Jim

  4. I’m sure I’m more comfortable in the servants’ quarters than I would be as a cruise ship passenger though the battleship analogy makes me squirm a little. I put on my armour each day but the battleship sounds a bit scary. God is with me wherever and with Him all things are possible. I’ll join you in the dry dock and we’ll expect the unexpected.

  5. I’m so grateful for the amazing people God has placed in my path. You, and many of my new friends from the margins, bring me closer to God. I got to spend time at the Community Chapliancy today and feel like I could be part of God’s beautiful work. I highly recommend the “servants quarters”, it has so much more to offer than simply being a passenger on a luxury liner 🙂 I am humbled and over joyed. I may not get to make a difference in someone else’s life, but it’s sure made a difference in mine 🙂

  6. Reed, this is extremely profound and accurate, and beautifully expresses how I feel and think. thank you. Phil

  7. Right on Reed.It’s been exactly one year now since my commissioning and the chance to really get SH Moncton up and going.What an eye opener.The street mission is so vastly different than my church and others that I’m familliar with.I love them both very much but some change is certainly required.On a positive note,I have learned well and with great pleasure that there is no lack of faith out there on the street.

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