Ships that don’t go anywhere…
On Saturday morning I had a guided tour of a lightship moored in Colchester Quay which is now the home of a group of Sea Cadets.
Did you know that a light ship has no engine, no steering wheel and no rudder? Why not?
It’s a perfectly simple explanation really as to why it isn’t geared up like other sea-going vessels.
In short, once it is in position, it doesn’t move.
Lightships are towed into position by another boat and the only engine on board is there to provide electricity for the hazard light and for all the other uses on board such as heating, cooking and below-deck lighting.
In days gone by lighthouses were built to warn ships of unseen danger, like rocks, or sunken vessels, or shifting sands. The light burning bright at night or in a storm was solely to warn ships to stay well clear or risk disaster.
The seas around our coasts are sometimes so destructive that many lighthouses built of steel and concrete have been completely destroyed by nature’s angry blasts.
Lightships fare better that lighthouses, under raging storms as they can roll with the waves and ride on the top of a storm and suffer no damage.
We have a lovely lady in our church who although wheelchair bound is a shining light to others.
I think of her as a ‘lightship’ staying in one place, unable to be mobile like the rest of us, nevertheless she manages to smile and laugh. She has an inner light that shines.
Jesus said “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Like ships on stormy seas we often are caught up in the tempests and whirlwinds of life’s problems, we lose direction in the darkness, our compass malfunctions, and we become afraid and are lost often without hope.
In times like this look for those saints who are shining lights in the gloom to lead you back to safety, back home on dry land.
Steer a course through the dangers and the hazards and head straight for the eternal Light of the World who alone has the power to save you.