View from the Pulpit Feb 2012

Monthly topical articles kindly supplied by a regular visiting

speaker from Northampton: Stan Burditt.








LAUNCHING OUT             I don’t know if Francesco Schettino, captain of the doomed Cruise Ship Costa Concordia is a superstitious person like many people today, but Friday 13th. of January will be etched upon his mind for the rest of his life. When the ship was launched at Sestri Ponente on 2 September 2005, the champagne bottle failed to break, causing some to think that the vessel was jinxed and that they would not travel on it unless they had a rabbit’s foot in their pocket!

The fact that the ship capsized when it hit a rock off Isola del Giglio, west of Italy on 13th. Jan., was nothing to do with superstision but with the judgement of the Captain. He chose to deviat from the planned route to give the islanders a closer display of the Cruise Ship and sailed too close to a reef which it got impailed upon.

It has been estimated that it will take ten months to recover the vessel from the rocks, the first 28 days to remove 500,000 gallons of fuel from its tanks, and salvaging costs and insurance claims could ammount to a billion pounds sterling.

The vessel had about 4200 passengers on board and all but about 30 are safely accounted for, 17 deaths have been reported and 13 are still missing.

The loss of this ship and some of the passengers and crew is a monumental tradegy caused by a monumental error of judgement. reports, On Wednesday 19th November 1997, the M.V. "Green Lily" ran aground on Bressay and during the ensuing successful evacuation of the crew, Mr Billy Deacon, the winchman aboard the rescue helicopter tragically lost his life.’

The details of this unhappy event are fully recorded on another website, Shetlopedia - The Shetland Encyclopaedia On 19th November 1997 the reefer Green Lily (formerly Pacific Lily, Gomba Nile, Balkram and Gomba Endeavour) left Lerwick Harbour after loading a cargo of approx 3000 tonnes of frozen fish from the Shetland Catch factory, bound for Las Palmas, Canary Isles. After some technjcal details of the ship the report continues ‘Shortly after leaving harbour she suffered engine failure and in storm force south easterly winds was driven ashore on the east side of Bressay, near Grut Wick. The crew were rescued by the Lerwick Lifeboat and the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Sumburgh Airport. Sadly, after ensuring that the last crew member had been saved, Mr William Deacon, helicopter winchman, was lost to the tempest, he was posthumously awarded the George Medal for bravery. Lifeboat coxwain Hewitt Clark was awarded the RNLI's highest honour, the Gold medal, for his part in the rescue.

A gospel message, presented by Earl Ritchie of West Richmond, Vamcouver, Canada,  relating to this happening can be heard on, which I thoroughly recommend you to listen to.

In Luke ch.5 the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His disciples, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.”

When embarking on any venture in life it is always wise to seek guidance from the Lord. The Captain of Costa Concordia was foolish to leave the prescribed route and choose to go another way. The Captain of the Green Lily ignored the advice of the Harbour Master not to leave the Port at Lerwick, Shetland into a force 9 gale, forecast imminently to force 11. Disaster and shipwreck can be the experience of any in life that choose their own way and ignore the good counsel of God.


Christ instructed the disciples to launch out, so it was safe to do so, and it was best for them too that they did so.  Your life and mine are best protected and provided for when we follow the instructions of the Saviour. Have you ever felt reluctant to launch out with God? Thinking rather to hold onto one’s own thoughts and practices for future well-being. 

When Paul went to Athens he saw that there was an altar erected to The Unknown God. Paul preached at Mars Hill, “e men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.  And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them.  Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them”.

 God bless you all.


Stan Burditt