The man who re-arranged deck chairs on the Titanic

deckchair There were exactly 256 deck chairs on the Titanic and two men were responsible for every single one of them.

They both took their job very seriously.By all accounts, every morning they were supposed to set up all the deck chairs and face them toward the sun. As the ship moved during the day they had to carefully monitor the situation and re-arrange the chairs.

They also had to ensure that German holidaymakers didn’t get up at six in the morning and try to claim the deck chairs by placing a towel on them, as they are still known to do nowadays at resorts worldwide.

Their official title was Deck Chair Re-Arranger. Theirs was a sought-after job. They were on deck mixing with the passengers. They had to dress smartly, be well spoken, and have a basic knowledge of the ship should a passenger ask a question like, “Excuse me, boy, where is the promenade deck”?

They were also permitted to take orders for toasted sandwiches.

On that fateful day one of them wrote in his diary, “10am and I am re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It seems such a pointless task as I know I am only going to have to re-arrange them again later, but it’s a job and Pat and I are thankful for that. Pat is a great bloke and a very good deck chair re-arranger. I think he has a great future ahead of him.”

Of course, we know now that later that night, after all the deck chairs on the Titanic had been re-arranged, the Titanic struck a huge iceberg and the unsinkable sank.

I’ve been bumping into some of their descendants recently. Some of them have been telling me we need to get back to the 400 year old King James version of the Bible and rediscover its majestic language, (even though no one can understand it!) Another was pressuring his church to pray every day for Israel. Another was trying to get me to join his campaign to keep/bring back pews into church.

And all the time the ship is slowly sinking and 1523 out of 2228 passengers and crew were drowned during the sinking of the Titanic – a loss of 68%.

But according to Peter Brierley’s research, of every class of ten 0 to 9 year-olds in Sunday School in 1985, only three were still connected with the church in 2005 – a loss of 70%

Three out of 4 Christian teens walk away from the church after they leave home – a loss of 75%

One in 10 young people under the age of 24 in the UK are Muslims

Men have decided church is not for them. Statistics show that men and boys are abandoning church. Our churches are disproportionately populated with 61 percent females and 39 percent males. In some churches I know its far worse than that.

Society is increasingly godless. Christianity is consigned to history, had its day, out moded. A fairy tale

“I would like all of us to ask ourselves today: are we still a Church capable of warming hearts?” said Pope Francis  in a speech remarkable for its frankness about the hemorrhaging of the Church in many countries.

Could it be time to stop rearranging deckchairs and get back to doing what Jesus did before its too late?

Jesus didn’t set up a throne in the middle of each town and say, ‘This is the only place you can meet with Me’. No, He went to the marketplace, to the boats of fishermen, to the synagogue, to the homes of people. He ‘…went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere’ (Luke 9:6KJV). Jehovah’s Witnesses go door to door because it works; on average they get one ‘bite’ for every 200 visits.

titanicJesus wasn’t bothered with video projectors and sound systems and coffee rotas and flower rotas and Bible versions and seats and deck chairs. He had an urgency about Him

He just focused on loving people, identifying with their needs and pointing them to God,  right where they were.

Eyewitnesses reported that when the Titanic actually sank the Deck Chair Re- arranger was busy re-arranging the deck chairs to ensure they didn’t slide along the deck and injure people…..


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