"When the Ship Goes Down"
May 8, 2013
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13
Recently, a book was published.
Entitled, The Band That Played On, the book asks the question, "Why did the Titanic's band keep playing, while the ship went down?" It's a good question. Since the band had been contracted by a talent agency and was not employed by the Titanic's owners, even the doomed ship's captain couldn't have ordered them to make music to calm troubled hearts.
So, why did they keep playing? Why didn't they try to save their lives?
After extensive research the author concludes the band acted heroically because of the Christian character of the band's leader: Wallace Hartley. Mr. Hartley was a faithful church attendee who had recently become engaged to a Christian girl. They were to be married after he had made a number of Atlantic crossings on the Titanic.
Some time before, when one of his friends had asked him, "What would you do if you were ever on a ship which was sinking?" Mr. Hartley had replied, "I don't think I would do better than play 'Oh God Our Help in Ages Past' or 'Nearer, My God, to Thee'."
In all likelihood, when Mr. Hartley found the ship was going down, he called together his fellow musicians and encouraged them to begin their concert. The Christian songs they played that night brought peace to the dying and hope to those who survived.
For doing what he did, I think Wallace Hartley is a hero of faith.
You probably are a hero too. I say that because many Christians don't know how they are going to act, how their faith will show itself, until the time of testing comes.
It is then by the power of the Holy Spirit that they can face those trials and make a witness that will touch others. That's what Wallace Hartley did. It's what you will probably do too. To that end, I encourage you to ponder how, at special times and circumstances, your words and actions might glorify the Savior, who gave His life to win your salvation.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, use my words and actions to point lost and frightened souls toward the Savior, who alone can give us peace, forgiveness and salvation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
PS - The violin pictured above has been authenticated to be the instrument Wallace Hartley played as the Titanic sank. It was recovered with the musician's body ten days after the ship had gone down.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries