For it is by grace you have been saved...

Friday, August 7, 2015

National Lighthouse Day and A Call to the Church

I know you've heard the story before, in one form or another.  Here is the version posted on a sermon illustration site:

In U.S. Navel Institute Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute, Frank Koch illustrates the importance of obeying the Laws of the Lighthouse. Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing reported, "Light, bearing on the starboard bow."
"Is it steady or moving astern?" the captain called out.
The lookout replied, "Steady, Captain," which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, "Signal that ship: 'We are on a collision course, advise you change course twenty degrees.'"
Back came the signal, "Advisable for you to change course twenty degrees."
The captain said, "Send: "I'm a captain, change course twenty degrees.'"
"I'm a seaman second-class," came the reply. "You had better change course twenty degrees."
By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, "Send: 'I'm a battleship. Change course twenty degrees.'"
Back came the flashing light, "I'm a lighthouse."
We changed course.

I love that story because it speaks of authority, and our need to bend to it.  I also like it because it's about a lighthouse.  I love lighthouses.  My office is filled with them.  Paintings, figurines, various lamps and models, even a giant puzzle I put together and framed.  I love lighthouses.

Today is National Lighthouse day.  According to one site: "On this date in 1789, through an Act of Congress, the Federal Government took over responsibility for building and operating our nation's lighthouses. They recognized the importance to ships at sea to find safe harbor during fog and storms. Over the years, these lighthouses have saved many ships, and an untold number of lives."

I love lighthouses because of the symbolism as well.  A beacon of light bringing direction, comfort and even warning to travelers in dangerous waters.  It's a perfect symbol for the role of the church, and for those of us in ministry.  Songs have even been written.

I think we need lighthouses more now than ever.  Our nation is in such dangerous waters.  The moral decline has morphed into a moral landslide.  Terror threats increase regularly.  We need a solid authority to give us warning, to give us direction, and to bring hope and comfort to those lost at sea.

God is that authority, and we, the church, are His lighthouses.  We need to shine the light of the gospel into the darkness of the world around us, giving warning, showing direction, offering hope.  And we need to stand firm on His truth. 

The world will try to throw its weight around, try to cause us to back down, change course.  But we know the truth.  The world is the one who needs to change course because they are headed for the rocks of destruction.  God's truth is the solid ground, the only true way to safety. 

So stand firm on the truth of God's Word.  Our world is headed for disaster, and they are desperately need of the truth whether they realize it or not.  And we are here to show the way to safe harbor, in hopes of saving lives, and maybe a nation in the process.  Be the lighthouse.  

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