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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

15 August 2012: Margaret Powell Petersfield Methodist Church

Ships that pass in the night

When I was in the Merchant Navy, I served on the Pretoria Castle. The Pretoria had a twin sister, the Edinburgh Castle, so when we passed at sea, it was like looking in a mirror. We passed regularly on the route from Southampton to Cape Town. At first she was a dot on the horizon, but excitement rose as the Edinburgh approached. The two captains steered their ships as close to one another as they dared. As we passed we would wave to the other ship's passengers and crew. This diversion gave us a sense of identity.

We passed other ships at sea, some at night when their twinkling lights brightened up the black sea. It was fun when radio officers sent silly messages by morse code... but soon the ships passed and contact was lost.

During the London Olympics, people have made new friends - and pledges of long-lasting friendships have been made, with promises of "I'll write every day" , "We'll keep in touch" and even "I will love you for ever". Some of these promises will be kept, but most of them will fade - like "ships that pass in the night" - just fun to be with for a while.

What is Jesus to you? Is he like a ship that passes in the night? Good fun for Christmas, perhaps, but soon forgotten? Just as the Edinburgh was an exact copy of the Pretoria, the Bible tells us that Jesus is "the exact representation of God's being" (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus can be your personal friend and Saviour all the time and not just something exciting which passes by.

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