Ahoy dear friends of the Fellowship of the Blog,
It’s the Fellowship of the Blog Ship! I’m pulling alongside with warmest greetings and a ship-load of thanks for your friendly visits and welcome comments.
Looking at Bobby Shaftoe’s rhyme puts me in mind of the first time I left Liverpool, England, for America. I was a young bride, filled with indescribable emotion as the ship pulled away from the shores of my native land. Would I ever return to see my family again? But, through her tears, my wise mother said, “Your place is with your husband, love, but never forget the land of your birth.”
The first test of that advice came the last night at sea, when the ship’s American orchestra gave a wonderful concert for the one thousand passengers. Their final musical selection was the tune to the British National Anthem. So, immediately, hundreds of Britishers rose to their feet, loudly singing “God Save The King!” Surprisingly, it’s also the same tune to America’s “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” which brought hundreds of Americans to their feet singing their own patriotic song at the same time. In spite of the vocal chaos, both sides hung on to their own rendition, right down to the last word, as the band played on! The hilarious peals of laughter that followed brought both sides of the Atlantic to a happy truce.
I have sailed across the Atlantic several times since then. And although I now travel back to Liverpool by air, I’ve always remained partial to the ships that sail the seas.
In 1761, a paraphrase of “Bobby Shaftoe’s” rhyme became popular as an election song. Supporters of a Robert Shafto successfully sang him all the way into Parliament with its message.
In that same year of 1761, a little “Bobby Shaftoe” with a missionary message was born in England – William Carey, the man who would become known as the “Father of Modern Missions.”
Carey rose from a humble shoemaker to flourish under God’s gifting into a brilliant linguist and translator in India. His burning passion was to “Go into all the world….” with the Gospel of Christ, even though Foreign missions were unheard of in his day.
Many other “Bobby Shaftoe’s” followed Carey’s brave and sacrificial example, including Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) who founded the China Inland Mission. When Hudson was five he would often say, “When I am a man, I mean to be a missionary and go to China.” It was on a ship from Liverpool that Hudson Taylor, age 21, sailed for China and for Christ in 1853.
On the same trip home to Liverpool mentioned in the “Misty, Moisty Morning” Blog (Feb. archives), my brother, Jimmy, suggested taking Kevin, Keith and me to look at big ships in dry dock. We drove past the landing stage where Hudson Taylor sailed away, then on up the Dock Road where a huge ship lay in dry dock. It was a pleasant late afternoon when Jimmy parked his brand new Vauxhall car. There wasn’t another car in sight.
My two young boys were fascinated looking down at a massive ship having barnacles scraped off. Just as Jimmy was explaining how barnacles cling fast to the bottom of ocean-going ships, reducing the ships’ speed with their dead weight, a terrible crash grabbed our attention. On that desolate road, a cyclist had come racing by, raking Jimmy’s new Vauxhall with a deep gouge from stem to stern! The cyclist was badly cut but refused medical help. So Jimmy kindly straightened the buckled wheels of the bike while I packed handkerchiefs around the cyclist’s bleeding neck. Finally, with a “Thank you very much,” he wobbled away.
Then, oh no! Jimmy saw the damage to his car. All he could say was, “To think I was run over by a rotten bicycle!” We forgot the barnacles and went home. Some consolation, however, was soon to come.
The next Monday, Jimmy arrived at his Prudential office to find a disconsolate fellow worker waiting to tell his sad story. He had just bought a new Vauxhall, too, and parked it nearby on the Dale Street slope. As he locked the car, an elderly woman with a push-cart full of fruit came racing out of control down the slope. She crashed into the back of his car, shook her head sadly, and said, “I’m awfully sorry, love – but, here, have a bunch,” then handed him a bunch of grapes and rolled off down the street.
Well, what can two insurance men do? There’s no coverage on bicycles or push carts! Given a few days, all was reclaimed by a good laugh over tea.
The great faith chapter of Hebrews twelve says: “…Seeing we also are encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight….” So, whether bicycle bashes, push-cart smashes, or burdensome barnacles are hindering your mission, vision, or dream, there’s a gallery of cheerleaders – including Carey & Taylor
who know there’s victory in Jesus. Be encouraged in The Lord’s still waters today.
Blessings and Cheerio! for now,
Christian Mother Goose®