A Prayer for Our Seafarers

VICAR

Dear Readers of Country Squire Magazine, I trust that You are well and healthy.

I write to You this week from Norway, where I am staying for a conference. And this week I would like us to think of those men and women who man our cargo ships and all those other workers out at sea – the navies, the fishing communities and others who make their living on the water. Often, they face great dangers. Who can they look to for their security and well-being when often little stands between them and their death in the sea they work.

Jesus calms the storm.

Remember too that Jesus told the twelve to depend upon hospitality – and to move on where they found no welcome. Even today, hospitality is a sacred tradition in the Middle East. Abraham welcomed the three travellers, who told him that Sarah would have a child. St Benedict developed the tradition when he told his communities to see in their guests the face of Christ. Seafarers are not much in our minds most of the time, and the huge container ships in which many of them work a far cry from the sailing ships in which not so long-ago men went down to the sea. They look immune to storms, though they are not, as the typhoons off the Philippines and Japan have been recently demonstrating. Very many seafarers come to our ports in Britain.

The Apostleship of the Sea works for all and fulfils that duty of hospitality on our behalf. Once Britain had the largest merchant navy in the world: not so now: British standards and taxes were too high. The flags of convenience demand less. Seafarers today are often ill paid, sometimes not paid, and far from home. They need our hospitality.

I wish You all well this week to come. Be blessed and be lucky. Have an excellent week ahead and a relaxing, pleasant Sunday.

Lord God, we depend on you for life itself. We depend on seafarers for many of our daily needs. Watch over them, keep them from danger, befriend them in loneliness and bring them safely home to those they love. Amen

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