Yesterday marked the 102nd anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Now, I know this because since marrying my wife, I have come to learn a ton about all that is Titanic history and lore. Jules loves the Titanic… fortunately, it’s not just about the movie (which I don’t love), but she has a deep appreciation for the grandeur, the engineering, the promotional build up that took place, the personalities which strolled the decks, the stories of survival and heroism, and the stories of cowardice and stupidity. As you may be able to tell, her appreciation has rubbed off on me just a bit. We have been to more than a dozen museums, exhibitions, or documentaries on the subject, and it is fascinating.
What is probably most fascinating is that the history of the Titanic is one of tragedy and hubris run amuck. This was, to the builders, the crew, the designers, and many of the passengers, an “unsinkable ship” – “Not even God could sink [that] ship.” This ship was supposed to be the epitome of the modern building mentality, which lauded the greatness of human experience and ingenuity. All that ended with an iceberg on April 15, 1912.
This seems most poignant to me at this particular time of year, because in the Christian calendar it is Holy Week. It is a time that reminds us how inadequate we really are… how deep our sin really is. We can do NOTHING to change that. We can do NOTHING to accommodate our sin. No matter what great heights we may scale as the human race, we cannot find a cure for the real ill that plagues us. But God had the cure. That cure was himself in Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not display his power over sin by means of armies, city building, or by flexing his divine muscle. He showed power by making himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant, and becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross. And he did it for us…
This week of sacraments and crosses – This week of drama and soldiers – This week of blood – This week of death and empty tombs – it serves as a reminder that our hubris is an illusion hiding the weakness that we all hold. We are spiritually broken, and we need a God bigger than our pride can scale.
I encourage you to remember – there is more strength in embracing our weakness before God than we can hope to gain on our own.