Song of the sea

We must remain ever hopeful in these stormy times

By The Revd Canon Andrew Wright

Some went out on the sea in ships;

they were merchants on the mighty waters.

They saw the works of the LORD,

his wonderful deeds in the deep.

For he spoke and stirred up a tempest

that lifted high the waves.

They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;

in their peril their courage melted away.

They reeled and staggered like drunkards;

they were at their wits’ end.

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,

and he brought them out of their distress.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;

the waves of the sea were hushed.

They were glad when it grew calm,

and he guided them to their desired haven.

Psalm 107 is famous for its account of seafaring. I have heard it said and sung in many different ways, once in a remote Scottish island, unaccompanied and with a beautiful rising and falling lilt that echoed the movement of the sea.

For those of you who live and work on the oceans, this is very much ‘your song’. Its power, however, lies in its universal application.

These are very, very stormy times across the world. War rages and threatens to spread. The pandemic continues to impact on many. The impacts of climate change become ever more apparent. Economic and energy problems threaten even those in the wealthiest nations. Politics is often messy. These are turbulent times for all, but perhaps it is often those at sea and their families who feel things especially acutely, not least because of their distance from support networks.

The Psalm reminds us, however, of something very important: that God walks with us in love through every crisis. He may not always give us freedom from the storm, but he can help us find some peace amidst the storm.

For now, we can only call out to God in our trouble and trust that in due course he will indeed still the storm to a whisper and guide us to our desired harbour. So, we must continue to pray and to remain ever hopeful.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright is secretary general of The Mission to Seafarers.

A prayer for seafarers

O God, We live in troubled times.

Storms come in many forms, and we bring to you the turbulence of our world and of our own lives.

We pray that your kingdom will come and that all may live in peace and in safety. Guide, we pray, national and international leaders in all their decision-making.

Bless and help us, our families, our colleagues and all who live in anxiety and fear.

We thank you that we can know you are always with us, even in the hardest times. In Jesus’ name we pray.