A little over one hundred years ago, she was the talk of Europe, and the newspapers claimed she was the “promise and pride of a new age,” a century still fresh and full of hopes and dreams. She was a marvel to behold. The largest moveable object man had ever made, she was over eight hundred feet long and more than eleven stories tall. She had to bear a name worthy of her stature, and so she did…Titanic. Those who boarded her in Southampton were a sort of cross-section of the age, from the super rich and famous to mere commoners. There were movie stars, government officials, criminals, and those heading west to find a new life in the new world. Anyone nervous about the long voyage might be assured by the architect and builders that this ship was unsinkable, and at least one man boasted that God himself could not sink this ship. And if God can’t sink the ship, you don’t need many lifeboats. There were barely enough for half of the passengers. We all know the rest of the story – the iceberg, the gash in the side of the ship, and how this modern marvel along with over 1,500 of her passengers sank into an icy grave in the North Atlantic.
In the wake of this disaster, pastors seized the opportunity to preach against the pride and arrogance of the age and to call for national and even international repentance. There were lessons to be learned from this disaster. Through books, plays, movies, games, articles, and museums the story of the sinking of HMS Titanic has been told and retold for a hundred years, and the lessons from this story are as relevant today as they were in 1912. That age of decadence, overconfidence, and self-indulgence is not so different than our own.
But did you know that there was another ship?