A Perfect Storm
Acts 27

In September 1991, the sword fishing boat, The Andrea Gail, returns to port in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with a poor catch. Desperate for money, Billy Tyne (The Captain), convinces the crew to join him for one more late season fishing expedition. They head out past their usual fishing grounds, leaving a developing thunderstorm, behind them. Initially unsuccessful, they head to the Flemish Cap, where their luck improves. At the height of their fishing the ice machine breaks; the only way to preserve their catch is to hurry back to shore. After debating whether to sail through the building storm or to wait it out, the crew decide to risk the storm. However, between the Andrea Gail and Gloucester is a confluence of 2 powerful weather fronts and a hurricane, which the crew of Andrea Gail underestimate. After repeated warnings from other ships, the Andrea Gail loses her antenna, forcing a fellow ship to call in a Mayday. An Air National Guard rescue helicopter responds, but after failing to perform a midair refuel, the helicopter crew ditch the aircraft before it crashes, and all but one of the crew members are rescued by a Coast Guard Vessel, The Tamaroa.

The Andrea Gail endures various problems; with 40-foot/12 meter waves crashing on to the deck, a broken stabilizer ramming the side of the ship, and two men are thrown overboard. The crew decides to turn around to avoid further damage by the storm. After doing so, the vessel encounters an enormous rogue wave. After attempting and failing to ride over the wave, the stricken fishing vessel capsizes and sinks. Only Bobby Shatford, manages to get out of the boat; however, he has no chance of surviving. He is last seen all alone among the waves. Back at shore a memorial ceremony is carried out while friends and family worry and wait for a ship that never comes home.  It is truly tragic that when we look at elements that are more common than most of us would want to admit.

Paul’s story in the late portion of the book of Acts isn’t really that different.  Paul has been arrested and has spent two years in prison in Caesarea, which is on the Mediterranean coast of Israel.  Paul had been accused of crimes by the Jewish leaders and was put on trial before the Governor, Festus and visiting King Agrippa.  During his trial, Paul demanded his right, as a Roman citizen, to be tried by Caesar. Festus agreed and sent Paul to Rome to stand trial.  So now a passage must be acquired, and the 27th chapter of Acts begins.

Paul begins his journey from Caesarea, a port on the west Coast of what is now Israel, half way between Jerusalem and Damascus, under the watch of Julius, a Roman Centurion who must have had some digression in the way that Paul was treated, for we hear at one point in the journey he releases Paul to find friends in Sidon to provide food for him.  As they sail around the Island of Crete, most have experienced what was to them, the Perfect Storm.  Five times they tried different procedures to save the vessel, and each time the storm prevailed.

Well I am not sure how many sailors there are in Indianapolis, but there certainly are some.  But one things I do know is that we all experience storms in our lives, and for some reason we seldom describe the gentle falling of a spring rain as a storm.  No we call that something completely different, more like a shower.  The term storm seems to be more reserved for the thunder and lightning, earth shaking and sound cracking kind of storm, like the ones we just want to run inside and get away from.

So what does Paul’s experience in the storm tell us about the activity of faith when we experience storms in life, which we will know what we will.  Stay the course (commercial on tv about a kindergarten teacher longing for vacation)

It seems that one day a kindergarten teacher was helping one of her students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn’t want to go on. They got one boot on. Finally, when the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, “Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet.” She looked down and sure enough, they were.

It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. But she managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on – this time on the right feet. And it was only then that he announced, “These aren’t my boots.”

She bit her tongue rather than scream, “Why didn’t you say so?” like she wanted to. And, once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they got the boots off than he said, “They’re my brother’s boots. My mom made me wear ’em today.”

Stifling a scream, she mustered up the grace and courage she had left to wrestle the ill-fitting boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, “Now, where are your mittens?”

To which he replied, “I stuffed ’em in the toes of my boots.”(Contributed to Sermon Central by: Ken Kersten)

That teacher had a challenging day! She needed to stay the course.