Their people had rebelled against the King and started their own nation in the Land of Sin. The King called them back to the Land of Righteousness. He wanted to make peace with them.
Some brave souls built a boat called the SS WORK, and they began to row their way to the Land of Righteousness. “Row. Row. Row!”
They rowed until sweat dripped from their faces. They rowed until their arms and shoulders ached. They rowed through waves and wind and storms. “Row. Row. Row!”
After days and weeks, they could still see the dock. “Work harder!” They rowed day and night. “Row. Row. Row!”
After months and months, they could still see their own land, and they started to fight.
“Why are you resting?”
“Don’t tell me what to do.”
“If you didn’t take so many breaks, we’d be there by now.”
After years and years, they had traveled no more than a few miles on a journey of a thousand miles. They were out of food, out of water, out of supplies. The storms continued to come, and the ship slowly began to fall apart. They kept rowing the desperate hope that they would somehow make it if they just kept rowing. Row. Row. Row!!”
Then, one young lady heard a sound coming from outside the ship. “I hear something.”
“Shut up. Row. Row. Row!”
“I hear something ... a horn ... people calling.”
“You’re just dreaming. Row. Row. Row!”
“I’m going up to see.”
“No! Everyone has to row! That’s our only chance. Row. Row. Row!!”
She went up to the deck and blinked in the sun. She could see a big, beautiful ship. The Captain called out, “Ahoy, there SS WORK. The King sent out a mayday call on your behalf. We’ve come to rescue you. The SS GRACE can hold your whole crew, but you’ll have to leave your boat.”
“Why?! Why do you want to rescue us?”
The Captain rushed to the railing. “The King loves you. We are here to take you home.”
She rushed back into the inside of the boat.
“Welcome back. Now, get to work. Row. Row. Row!”
A timid “no.”
“What?! Row. Row. Row!”
“No” - with a little more courage. “We don’t have to row anymore.”
“Of course we have to row. Row. Row. Row!”
“No, there’s a different way.”
“Rowing is the only way. Row. Row. Row!”
“There’s a ship here to save us. It’s called the SS GRACE.”
“Grace - what does that mean? Row. Row. Row!”
“Come and see for yourself.”
Then, one person stood, “I’ve heard of the SS GRACE, but I thought it was a fairy tale. I’ll go.”
“Somebody shut her up before she gets somebody else to stop rowing.”
The two seekers went up on deck, and they stared in amazement at the SS GRACE. They saw the kindness of the Captain. They saw the sails of the SS GRACE and noticed that there were no oars on that ship. There was plenty of work to do, helping the ship catch the Wind, but none of the back breaking rowing of the SS WORK. The crew of the SS GRACE moved with joy and purpose.
This was enough to convince these seekers. They returned inside their own ship, “It’s true!”
“Shut up. Row. Row. Row!”
“The King has sent the SS GRACE to save us.”
“Why would the King do that? This is the only way. Row. Row. Row!”
“The King made us, and He sent the Captain to bring us back. He came on a sailboat. It doesn’t even have oars.”
“No oars?!! How does it move? Row. Row. Row!”
“It’s powered by the Wind of the Spirit.”
“I can’t imagine life without rowing. Row. Row. Row! Let’s just work harder. Row. Row. Row!”
“This ship is going down. You’ll never make it by working harder.”
“I’m not sure I want to be saved. I don’t want to be pulled from the water like some drowning rat. Row. Row. Row!”
“Maybe the SS GRACE came for you, but it didn’t come for me. Row. Row. Row!!”
“The Captain said he’ll take everyone who will put their trust in the SS GRACE. Who is coming with us?”
About half the crew of the SS WORK waded through the water to go on deck. When they stepped into the sunlight, the rescue team of the SS GRACE gave them blankets and led them to the bridge between the two ships. The rest of the crew stood at the railing cheering wildly as each person was rescued.
As each person stepped onto the SS GRACE, the Captain hugged and kissed them. Then, he sent them inside the ship to rest, to eat, to heal.
(This story will be published in The Standard, a compliment to the Adult Sunday School curriculum for the Church of the Nazarene, in January of 2012. To read the original, full-length story, click here.)