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Antarctica

INTERDENOMINATIONAL WORSHIP. February 6, 2022

with improvisation and a gift from heaven

sunny -4 °F

Our pianist, Alex Manev, is in quarantine. Skilled congregant arranges to download hymn accompaniments and play them on the sound system, but the internet is down. Church choir member offers to sing, but his "golden oldies" are not ours. Riohann Hetteridge, one of the Voices of Silversea, a fine soprano who sings opera and show tunes for the ship's shows. Riohann sang a Welsh hymn for the service in 2020 - but her microphone isn't yet set up for the Show Lounge. So she sings a cappella and stirs every heart and soul in the place. Deo gracias. Amen.

INTERDENOMINATIONAL WORSHIP

Aboard the Silver Whisper February 6, 2022 at 6 p.m.

GRAPHIC
Gravestone of St. Domilla Catacomb, Rome: Christians (little fish) at the anchor of hope

HYMN: O God, our help in ages past

Thus says the Lord: fear not, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you.

Let us pray. O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Strengthen us with your presence that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Therefore from one person ... descendants were born, ‘as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.’ (11-1, 8-10, 12)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 121

I lift my eyes up to the hills
from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord
the maker of heaven and earth
He will not let your heart be moved
and he who watches over you will never sleep
The Lord himself watches over you;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
it is he who shall keep you safe.
The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in,
from this time forth forevermore.

A reading from the Gospel of Mark

On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (4:35-41)

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

A Reflection The Reverend William J. Eakins

We are in the middle of an adventure that has taken us to a strange and wonderful land that many of us have never seen before. We follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers like Amundsen and Scott who risked their lives to trek the frozen landscape of Antarctica to be the first to set foot on the South Pole. And on our journeying to and from the Seventh Continent we have sailed across the Drake Passage, the notoriously turbulent waters between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. These waters recall the pioneering circumnavigations of Magellan and Drake, waters dared by whalers on their way to and from hunting expeditions and by clipper ships carrying the fortune hunters of the California Gold Rush.

What motivated those intrepid adventurers of old? Why didn’t they just stay home enjoying the safety and security of the places where they were born? What has motivated us to undertake our journey at a time when many voices have warned us to do otherwise? Why were we not content to stay home? Staying home might have been safer than going on an expedition to the Antarctic and beyond. And yet we went anyway. Why?

Perhaps it was because we, like other adventurers before us, trust that the risks of leaving the familiar and the known, are surpassed by the joys and satisfactions of discovering and exploring new and different places. Furthermore, we trust that although our travels might occasionally cause us some discomfort, it is a price worth paying and that in the end we are going to be safe and going to be happy we made the journey.

I suggest that the way we think about travel says a great deal about our attitude toward life. We can regard life as an intriguing adventure that will lead us into the discovery of new and uncharted territory or we can regard life’s unknowns and uncertainties as a fearsome threat.

If we see life as full of threats, we will want to play it safe, look out for Number One and protect ourselves as much as possible from life’s risks and dangers. What makes the difference between seeing life as a threat and seeing life as an adventure is faith. Self-confidence and self-reliance are important but they can only take us so far and may not stand up to the disappointments and disasters that will come our way. Faith, enduring faith, is putting our trust not in ourselves but in God.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” says the letter to the Hebrews. God promises our spiritual ancestor Abraham that he will be the father of a great nation. Believing that promise, Abraham sets out from his homeland and begins a journey into the unknown not knowing where God will lead him.

We who are Abraham’s spiritual heirs have also received God’s promise, the Gospel promise that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. The outstretched arms of Christ on the cross speak to us of the breadth and depth of God’s love, and the empty tomb of Easter assures us that God’s love cannot be defeated. That Good News is our anchor in the storms of life and gives us the courage and strength to see life as an exciting adventure into the future God has in store for us.

But sometimes we forget that Good News and like those disciples rocking in a storm on Lake Galilee we become afraid and think we are perishing. We may even doubt that there is a God or at least a God who cares about us and our world. That is why we need to gather regularly with other Christian believers the way we are doing this evening. We need to hear and reflect on God’s word, offer prayers for one another, sing the hymns of faith, and offer ourselves in God’s service. With our vision renewed and our hearts filled with fresh courage, we are ready to face what life will bring.

Who knows what might lie ahead?

Faith in God’s promises has inspired believers
to stand up to tyrants
to speak truth to power
to challenge old preconceptions of race, gender, right & wrong
to reform governments and systems of justice
to undertake ministries to feed the poor & care for outcasts
to establish missions, schools, colleges, and universities
to deal with addiction and depression
to cope bravely with debilitating illness
to trust that there is life after divorce
to find solace at the deathbeds of loved ones
to give sacrificially to make the world a better place.

What might God have in store for us to do? .........

I leave you with a prayer that has been attributed to Sir Francis Drake after whom the sea we have recently crossed is named:

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
when we have arrived safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas
where storms will show us your mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

Solo: Calon Lan Rhiannon Herridge

Nid wy'n gofyn bywyd moethus,
Aur y byd na'i berlau mân:
Gofyn wyf am galon hapus,
Calon onest, calon lân.
Calon lân yn llawn daioni,
Tecach yw na'r lili dlos:
Dim ond calon lân all ganu
Canu'r dydd a chanu'r nos.
Pe dymunwn olud bydol,
Hedyn buan ganddo sydd;
Golud calon lân, rinweddol,
Yn dwyn bythol elw fydd.
(Chorus)
Hwyr a bore fy nymuniad
Gwyd i'r nef ar adain cân
Ar i Dduw, er mwyn fy Ngheidwad,
Roddi i mi galon lân.
(Chorus)
I seek not life's ease and pleasures,
Earthly riches, pearls nor gold;
Give to me a heart made happy,
Clean and honest to unfold.
A clean heart o'erflow'd with goodness,
Fairer than the lily white;
A clean heart forever singing,
Singing through the day and night.
If I cherish earthly treasures,
Swift they flee and all is vain;
A clean heart enriched with virtues,
Brings to me eternal gain.
(Chorus)
Morn and evening my petition,
Wings its flight to heaven in song;
In the name of my Redeemer,
Make my heart clean, pure and strong.
(Chorus)

The Prayers


Let us lift our prayers for ourselves, for those we love, and for the world about us to God, the maker of heaven and earth.

For the leaders of every nation, that they may seek the wisdom that comes from you.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For this fragile planet, our island home, that we may treasure its beauty and preserve its resources for generations to come.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For courage and hope to meet life’s challenges.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For explorers and those who open the frontiers of science, for physicians, researchers and all health care workers, for the crew of our ship that they may work in safety and bring glory to You.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For those who are sick in body, in mind, and in spirit that they may be healed of all infirmities.
Lord, hear our prayer.

For those who have died and those who mourn: Hold them in your loving care.
Lord, hear our prayer.
O God whose glory fills the whole creation and whose presence we find wherever we go: preserve us as we travel; surround us with your loving care; protect us from every danger and bring us in safety to our journey’s end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.

HYMN: The Lord my God my Shepherd Is

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Officiants: The Reverend Hope H. Eakins, The Reverend William J. Eakins
Soloist: Rhiannon Herridge of the Voices of Silversea
Sound Assistant: Heather Trojan

Posted by HopeEakins 12:42 Archived in Antarctica Comments (3)

THROUGH THE GERLACHE STRAIT

And back through the Drake Passage!

sunny -6 °F

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Today is spectacularly beautiful in the Antarctic. The temperature may be below zero, but the sun sparkles and the ice glitters and we float by icebergs great and small. Glaciers come down to the sea in wide white expanses, and where the glaciers are broken, they are a brilliant turquoise blue. Ice IS blue before it captures the air bubbles which turn it white. So when a glacier calves, the surface at the water almost glows, brilliant with blue ice that seems to pour its color into the sea.

At our briefing on tomorrow’s adventure we learned that the seas will be too rough for us to be in Zodiacs (Forecast: heavy swells with 40 mph winds). So we will go on an iceberg viewing expedition, starting with a large table iceberg that is the size of ...... Jamaica! Then off to Elephant Island, where Shackleton left his men while he sailed hundreds of miles to South Georgia from whence he came back in an open boat bringing help to rescue the crew.

Love from your intrepid sailors who are once again putting things on the floor so they don’t fall when the ship rocks and rolls,
Bill and Hope

Posted by HopeEakins 01:42 Archived in Antarctica Comments (2)

LANDING IN ANTARCTICA

(Maybe “stoning”)

overcast -2 °F

IMG_0836.jpgIMG_0834.jpgIMG_0830.jpgIMG_0842.jpg
The Drake Passage has been rough at times with thirty-foot waves and swells, so we didn’t move around the ship much, but overall, during the two days we spent traversing the passage, we found it moderately smooth. Alleluia! This morning we arrived at Yankee Harbor by the Antarctic Peninsula. We had very small cups of coffee because we couldn’t face having to remove all the layers we put on: underwear, long underwear, pants and shirts and waterproof pants, underparkas and overparkas, scarves and gloves, hats and hoods. Once bundled up we went down to get fitted with our life jackets and then walk through a tub of raspberry Kool-Aid. Actually it only looked like raspberry Kool-Aid but was a decontaminant for our boots.

Then down to the Zodiac where the Expedition team helped us get into our little bobbing rubber vessel. Moving across the Sea, the boat grated against pack ice making eerie sounds and then “landed” in a pile of stones. Disembarking was not easy; one of our mates fell into the Sea. We didn’t, so we got to see the fauna: sea lions. No flora visible. Gentoo penguins were also not in sight so we will wait until tomorrow.

Back into the boat, back on the ship, boots removed by capable stewards, off for a late lunch (dessert pictured above) – and now we await a briefing for tomorrow. (Note: Sitting below the face mask by the blueberry pie is Sunday’s sermon, already done.)

Love, Hope and Bill

Posted by HopeEakins 02:51 Archived in Antarctica Comments (3)

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