On the 10th of August 1628 the pride of the Swedish navy, the Vasa, glided magnificently from its berth in Stockhom into the harbour. The dignitaries and royalty on board were impressed as the sails billowed out and this brand new ship sped forth. After 1300 metres a gust of wind caught it. The ship rolled, water rushed into the open gun ports and the Vasa plummeted to the bottom of Stockholm harbour, not to see the sky again until it was dredged up in 1961.
Today it can be seen in the beautiful Vasa Museum in Stockholm. The wonderful craftsmanship, the carved figures and the ornate stern are there for us to wonder at.
The story goes, that the king was so eager to show off his ship that it was not properly equipped with ballast. Hence things went awry. The Swedes, at the time, were so ashamed, the ship was not spoken of again.
It is such a human story. Pride, carelessness, impetuousness, lack of foresight and so on. I am sure we have all been guilty of some or all of these at some time. In the Vasa case it cost lives, national pride and of course, one brand new warship. (Today, however, it is making money as the top tourist attraction in Stockholm.)
For me, this story reminds me that God is aware of my human frailty. He is aware of my failures and stumbles. Yet, he still loves me. Even my worst failures have been dealt with by his son. He has even forgiven the disasters that my brokenness has caused. That is a comfort beyond words.
Back to the Vasa. I wonder what the ship builders and artisans thought when the boat they had lovingly crafted for months, disappeared under the waves? Their work was irredeemable. Lost, they thought, for ever. They had little idea that it would become a money making tourist attraction.
We too, need not be hopeless. Christ can take us, you and me, and make us new again.