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We Are All Now in the Same Boat

He isn’t in the top ten. No, those positions are reserved for men like Lincoln, Washington, Reagan, and FDR. In fact, many would label him as obscure. A feeble blip on the radar. When it comes to remembering presidents, his name is all but forgotten in the annals of history. Such was the fate on America’s 30th president. A man by the name of Calvin Coolidge.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was dumbfounded upon hearing the news of President Warren G Harding’s death on August 2, 1923. “That means Coolidge is President!” Embodying the rectitude frugality of New England, Coolidge was known as being enigmatic and taciturn. “Silent Cal” (as he was often referred to by many in Washington) was a man whose idea of a perfect day was one during which absolutely nothing happened. And yet he appears to be a more interesting man than most historians found him to be. Coolidge may not have habitually said much but what he did say mattered…

“Whether one traces his Americanisms back three centuries to the Mayflower, or three years to the steerage, is not half so important as whether his Americanism of today is real and genuine. No matter by what various crafts we came here, we are all now in the same boat.”

The apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians describes the Lord’s church by using the imagery of the body.

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12.12-13

Although we come from different backgrounds, socially, economically, ethnically, even culturally, in Christ we are one body. In today’s vernacular one could echo the words of Coolidge:

“We are all now in the same boat.”

Despite the various crafts that brought us here, we all are united as one. In Him. We share the same care for one another. The same sufferings. The same honors. In fact, when you come right down to it, we share the same origins. Sinners. Every single one of us. Isn’t that the point Paul was getting at earlier in his letter? In his detailed description of the unrighteous, he concludes by stating:

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6.11

“Such were some of you.” In the same boat. In need of sanctification. Of justification. In need of a Savior.

I think sometimes as we look out amongnst ourselves, the conclusions we draw are entirely different. “No one understands what I am going through.” “They couldn’t possibly understand where I am now. Or where I’ve been.” And so we try, feebly at best, to make our own mark in the world. Especially when it comes to our walk with Him. Yes, I understand that salvation is very much a personal, individual exercise. But with the limited viewpoint that at times we possess, many forget quickly that the journey we traverse is not one of isolation. Many have trod the steps we’ve trodden. Despair. Guilt. Sorrow. Helplessness. And all the while not realizing that as one body we are called to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6.2). To lift each other up. To share in sorrows and in joys.

We are all now in the same boat.

And although where each of us came from is fraught with scenes of hurt, pain and desperation, where we are headed is something altogether different. And glorious. Our walk with Him to glory is a walk we traverse together. With those who’ve had their robes washed and made white by the blood of the Lamb. Who endured tribulations. “A great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7.9b-10). Worshipping together. Helping each other. Picking each other up when we’re down. As one body, we are unified in thought and in purpose. For you see, a home in heaven with Him is not just a goal. It is a promise. It’s our inheritance. Together. In Him.

Wise and true words indeed from an obscure President. He might have provided Americans at that time with stability and respectability in an era of fast-paced modernization. But for me, nearly 100 years later, his words are a reminder of shared dreams and pursuits.

In the same boat.

Come join me, won’t you? There’s room for you too. Softly and tenderly, He’s calling. “Oh sinner, come home.”