Monday, 2 May 2011

No ordinary rating

Here at Baafest (Bellingham All Acoustic Festival) we were told the story behind a song.....
From Sunderland - an apparently ordinary rating, Jack Crawford, had been press ganged to serve on a naval ship in the Battle of Camperdown (1797) - in which we were fighting the Dutch.

HMS Venerable was Admiral Duncan's flagship and during the battle, part of the Venerable's mast was felled, including the colours (flag). Lowering the colours was a sign of surrender, and even an unintentional fall was unacceptable. Despite being under intense gunfire, Jack Crawford climbed the mast and nailed the colours to the top.

The story goes that this act of heroism so stirred the demoralised and disheartened British, who were on the wrong end of this particular battle, that the battle turned from that point. With the colours again 'atop' the mast they went on to win a decisive victory. As with all such historic tales there are disputed elements of the story, some of which may be right some of which may be historians seeking a name for themselves, however, there undoubtedly truth contained within it. That the course of individual lives and of history can be changed by single heroic acts has been shown to be true many times. Such acts can touch lives, communities and nations and can prompt similar selfless actions.
In Hebrews 11 we read about a number of 'heroes' of faith whose stories are there,in part at least, as examples to stir those who come after them to similar or greater acts of faith which will, in turn, encourage and strengthen the coming generations of God's family.
However, those historic faith figures are not my focus - we are. The present generation that God has called and empowered and equipped are the one's who need to be, and among whom the next generation will have a right to look for, 'heroes of faith'.
We need to be people whose lives and actions turn the direction of history, serve as examples that stir others to follow and are responsible for raising the bar of expectation and action.
Jack Crawford didn't nail his own colours to the mast, he risked his life to nail the King's colours to the mast. An act of heroism becomes the invitation the inspiration and the challenge to present and future generations.
And my challenge? What part will I play in this story..........

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