Lonely The Boat
Lonely the boat, sailing at sea, tossed on a cold, stormy night;
cruel the sea which seemed so wide with waves so high.
This single ship sailed the deep sea, straight into the gale;
O Lord, great is the peril, dangers to all assail.
Strong winds arose in all their rage, tossing the tiny lone boat;
waves billowing high, tossing the boat, lost and afloat.
The sailor stood all alone, wondering what to do;
O Lord, so helpless was he, wondering what to do
Trembling with fear, deep in despair, looking for help all around,
the sailor saw light from above, “Help can be found;
my God is here in my small boat, standing by my side;
O I trust in the Savior, now in my life abide.”
“Pleading for your mercy, O Lord, even a sinner like me;
command, O lord, calm to the sea, as in Galilee!
Please save my life from all danger, grant a peaceful life;
O please be merciful, Lord, in times of calm and strife.”
“Storms in our lives, cruel and cold, surely will arise again,
threatening lives, threatening us on life’s wild sea.
Powerful and great, God’s hand is there, firmly in control.
O Lord, calm peace comes from you, peace comes to my lone soul.”
Helen Kim; trans. By Hae Jong Kim; versed by Hope Omachi-Kawashima
This hymn was written by Helen Kim (1899-1970), a Korean woman who committed her life to bringing Jesus Christ to Korean women and providing them with an education that would free them from their traditional repressive culture. She was a graduate of Ewha University in Seoul; the first Korean woman to earn a PhD (Columbia University, New York City); first Korean woman president of Ewha University, the largest women’s university in the world. She kept the institution financially afloat during the Japanese occupation. She was a delegate to the United Nations from Korea and an active Methodist leader within the church and the world.
Read again the hymn. Meditate on it with the following comments/questions guiding your meditation.
In stanzas one and two various images are described of being on a boat in a storm. Which one speaks to you and why? What experiences have you had which could be described with these same images?
The last three stanzas are a conversation between the sailor and God. Note the fear, sense of danger, and at the same time the knowledge that God can grant peace and calm. How do you handle the storms that come in your life? In what way is God a part of your dealing with such storms?
Yes, storms occur in each of our lives. The major questions is not “why?” but “how do we react – in faith or fear?”
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.