Psalm 77:19 – Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. (NIV)
Several months from now will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. A new book entitled, "The Band That Played On", caught my attention of the Titanic's tragic story once again — this time out of curiosity to learn more about the ship's heroic eight-member band. Also of interest to me were the hymns that the band had played in the early morning hours during that fateful day in April of 1912, just before the White Star liner plunged beneath the icy waters.
Many survivors in lifeboats heard the orchestra play the tune "Excelsior", long associated with one of my favourite songs, "Nearer, my God, to Thee". However, I was curious about another tune the band played entitled "Autumn". I discovered that an Episcopalian hymn, "God of mercy and compassion" was sung to this melody. Since I had never heard this classic tune, I searched the Internet for the words and music of this once-popular song linked to various accounts and personal memoirs of the Titanic. The last stanza vividly portrays what must have been the thoughts and feelings of believers affected by the ship's calamity:
- Hold me up in mighty waters,
Keep my eyes on things above,
Righteousness, divine atonement,
Peace and everlasting love.
I can see how those on board the Titanic would have been comforted by those words. Their experience prompts me to ask, how would I react in a similar situation, being faced with imminent danger, such as the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11? In any event, God's strength is greater than our fears. His presence remains not only in autumn, on this tenth anniversary, but throughout every season of our lives, albeit His precious footprints may never be seen.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, allow us to experience Your presence even in the midst of a storm. Guide us through the changing seasons of our lives and fill our hearts with a resounding song that echoes the words of our dearly beloved hymns, drawing us closer and closer to You. In Jesus' mighty name, we pray. Amen.