My First Lutheran Cruise

By Scott Keith

(Hello, blogosphere. This little piece of satire was sent to me by a former student who for understandable reasons wishes to remain nameless. I hope you enjoy his first contribution to The Jagged Word.)

My First Lutheran Cruise:

Day 1: Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you so much for buying my ticket to the S.S.S.S.S.F.S.G. (Steam Ship Sola Scriptura Sola Fide Sola Gratia) Luther; I’m having a really good time on the open seas. I’m normally afraid of the ocean, but I feel safe and secure within the theologically reinforced hull of this LCMS-sanctioned cruise ship. There are even a couple windows in case anyone decides to look outside. However, that rarely happens since there is so much great stuff happening inside. I was grateful to find out that my room was in the very back of the boat. Actually, now that I think of it, that’s where most of the people are staying. I heard rumors that there might be some rooms near the front of the boat, but I believe that they are mostly unoccupied or filled with the few non-Lutherans that are on the cruise. 

Day 5: Dear Mom and Dad,

The staff members on the ship are so nice! They’ve all been called, commissioned, and synodically certified, so I know I can trust them. We’ve got a ship pastor, DCE, DPM, DCO, DYFM, and DSPD (Director of Swabbing the Poop Deck).

Day 12: Dear Mom and Dad,

The S.S.S.S.S.F.S.G. Luther is starting to feel like a home to me. Although I am one of the few people here under the age of 60, I fit right in at our first ship-wide potluck dinner (we have those at least once a month before our ship-wide voters meetings). We like to call them our PSVMPs (Pre-Ship-wide Voters Meeting Potlucks). I met at least one-hundred people who knew you guys or someone else in our congregation back home. A couple of them were actually distantly related to us! Speaking of fitting in at potlucks (or not fitting in, actually), I discovered that our cruise is extremely diverse. Out of the six-hundred people aboard, about 450 are German-Lutheran and 140 are Norwegian, and then there are ten foreigners who didn’t really know what they signed up for. Thankfully everyone was really nice and outgoing to these guests. A couple people even went as far as saying hello.

Day 17: Dear Mom and Dad,

Today was my turn to volunteer in the ship’s nursery. Luckily, there were a very small number of children for me to look after. However, one of the kids was not Lutheran, so I ended up having to separate him from the others since they refused to play nice with him. When the parents came to pick him up, I was shocked to discover that he had not been baptized yet. I insisted that they baptize him immediately in the ship’s baptismal font (with the help of the pastor, of course—we wouldn’t want to risk messing up the complex instructions that Jesus gave us concerning Baptism). They politely refused and walked away.

Day 30: Dear Mom and Dad,

One of my favorite parts of the cruise is waking up every morning to go to the complimentary worship service. Everyone gathers together and sings in unison to the Holy Trinity with a rousing selection of our favorite hymns. I’ve recommended “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” almost every day. I love the melodious sound of the ship’s organ. Every once in a while, the crew offers a contemporary worship service, but I usually choose to skip it. God forbid I ever let any emotion enter into heart while I joyfully sing unto the Lord.

Day 40: Dear Mom and Dad,

I just wanted to tell you that I love you. I’m not sure if I will make it back or if you will even get this letter. Today, some people began to panic when they realized that we were headed for an enormous iceberg. The captain reassured us that the hull was protected with sound doctrine, so it was impossible for the ship to be breached or destroyed. Some of the non-Lutherans that were aboard begged the captain to change his course to avoid a collision, but he calmly and faithfully replied, “We’ve been sailing this route for the last one-hundred years. We’re not going to budge.” The non-Lutherans were the first to take to the lifeboats and leave. Then went the international folk. Then some of the young families with children. I chose to stick it out with the rest of the faithful believers. The impact wasn’t too bad. The captain was right; the ship was indestructible. We smashed our way though a good portion of the ice before we got stuck in the middle of it. Now we wait.

Day 80: Dear Mom and Dad,

We are still stuck in the ice. We considered calling the coastguard or some other outside organization for help, but we decided that the risk of unionism or syncretism was too great, so we chose to keep our problem to ourselves.

Day 100: Dear Mom and Dad,

Things are looking pretty grave on the ship right now. People are starting to go mad. I often hear screams of, “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?” echoing throughout the halls. At one point, a woman tried to take charge and give us instruction on how to get out of the ice, but she was quickly beaten over the head with several rolled up copies of Paul’s first epistle to Timothy.

Day 144: Dear Mom and Dad,

People are dropping like flies. Not from lack of rations—we have plenty of wine and wafers left—but mainly from old age. The coast guard sent two boats and a helicopter, but we resolutely declined and told them that God will save us. He should be taking me home any minute now. I’ll see you in California or heaven.