This State of Salvation
You will all remember the story of Noah’s ark in the Book of Genesis, and how Noah, having been warned by God that a terrible flood was coming, made an ark so that he and his family and the animals would be safe. When the flood came the water rose to a depth of over 15 cubits, that is, over 22 feet (Genesis 7:20), and as a result all the people in the area were drowned except for those in the Ark.
The Ark of Christ’s Church
Now, just as the Ark kept Noah and his family safe from the dangers of the Flood, so the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ to which we belong can keep us safe from the dangers which threaten our souls. So in the Prayer Book Baptism Service, the priest prays that the person “…may be received into the ark of Christ’s Church…” and “…may so pass the waves of this troublesome world, that finally he may come to the land of everlasting life…” (1)
The Church, a great ship of safety
We can think, then, of the Church as a great ship of safety and of Our Lord as its Captain, steering us to the harbour of Heaven, where God is seen by his Blessed Saints. But just as the passengers and crew of a big liner are surrounded on every side by the many dangers of the sea, like sharks or mountainous waves, so we who are members of the Church are surrounded by many dangers to our souls. Only one thing can take us away from God or keep us way from him, and that is sin. And sin, as you know, is any thought, word or act which is wrong in his eyes. In other words, when we sin we go away from God and, unless we do something about it, we stay away from him. As Holy Scripture says, sin is “to desert the Lord, and to turn one’s heart away from one’s maker” (Jerusalem Bible, Ecclesiasticus 10:12,13,14,15).