On the 19th December 1981 the Penlee Lifeboat based in Mousehole (pronounced Mowsel) Cornwall was called to rescue the crew of the MV Union Star whose engine had stalled in horrific seas off the Cornish coast on a trip to Ireland. The story is told in the moving BBC documentary Cruel Sea: The Penlee Lifeboat Disaster.
Sixteen people lost their lives: Eight from the lifeboat and eight from the ship.
We are often assaulted by the depraved behaviour of humans in wars and atrocities but we should also be encouraged by the altruism we discover as well. In floods, bushfires and other crises, such as rescues at sea, there are stories of people putting their lives on the line for others. We read of heroism in the recent storms in the US, which is a nice change from the shooting headlines that are trumpeted in newspaper and television reports.
What I find exciting is that whenever these altruistic events occur we see a glimpse of Jesus, the God/Man who died in our place on the cross. I find it encouraging that there are moments in everyday life through heroism, sacrifice and putting the other first, that we glimpse Jesus through the actions of ordinary human beings. We are given a momentary insight into how God originally created us and is now recreating us in Christ.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8