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I watched with admiration some tugboats in action in Sydney harbour, working their magic on a big P&O cruise ship. At first, simply accompanying and navigating and fussing about on either side. But then the big ship reached a tight bend in the river. Suddenly the tugs gunned their engines, one at the side near the back of the cruise ship, and the other on the opposite side near the front, pushing at the perpendicular so as to swivel the boat on its axis to hasten its turn. The manoeuvre was both clever and effective.
It made me think of the two tugboats mentioned in the famous psalm that work hard in the life of God’s people – ‘goodness’ and ‘mercy’. Sometimes navigating the way that is wise and good. Sometimes barring the way to the hidden rocks and shallow reefs. Sometimes having to push at the perpendicular against our stubbornness in order to keep us in the middle of the channel. And sometimes having to urge from the front in dealing with our inertia. But never idle. And always in motion. And always keeping the vessel moving in the deep waters of God’s kindness and grace.
But it seemed to me from where I was standing that those aboard the P&O were hardly conscious of the vital work of the tugs. They were too busy on the top deck with their cameras to notice what was happening at sea-level at the bow and at the stern. And I was reminded again that the crew of the kingdom need more sea-worthy eyes.
DM 30th Jan 2014