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Cnr of Park Rd and MacMahon St, Hurstville Sundays at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm

Mind the Gap

At midnight on the 20th August 1857, in appalling weather, the Dunbar, a first class English-built vessel, crashed into Sydney Heads (southside), killing 121 passengers and crew, and leaving only one survivor. Apparently the captain thought he was north of the harbour opening, when he was actually south, and turned the ship further to the south, ensuring its collision with the rocks. Tragic really, to not know where you are, and in the fog to make a fatal turn.

The spiritual parallel is too painful and too common. Captains in charge of their own souls, confident of their coordinates, dangerously close to the rocks, tantalizingly close to a clear passage and safe haven, but misjudging their position and steering away to crash with reality. Why is that? A last minute decision to think that we can atone for our sins? A fog that obscures the sight of the only One who can forgive us? Certainly if our conscience were to pilot our soul in the critical hour, we would be on the rocks, for the conscience is a moral compass that has no capacity for grace.

But if we would safely reach the harbour, grace is exactly what we need, whether we are nearing the entrance or still out to sea, and whether the weather is fair or foul. The Old Lighthouse stills works, and its guiding beam has not dimmed nor altered its direction. “I am the Light of the world,” said Jesus, “whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

DM 10th December 2013

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