Just what exactly does it take to change a life?
Huw Williams | 15:53, Sunday 10 June, 2012 | Turin, Italy
The centenary of the Titanic's ill-fated maiden voyage seems to be going largely unmarked over here, but we have access to enough British media to read about it and keep it in mind. Of course with our Belfast connections (where the ship was built and where they like to remind everyone that "it was fine when it left here") there is access to even more information and events to keep the terrible events of a hundred years ago alive.
From amateur conspiracy theorists to Hollywood blockbuster movies to countless books on the subject, it's a story that never fails to fascinate us, and it makes me wonder what it is that makes this tragedy so enduring in our imaginations. I for one can't get enough when it comes to finding out more about the Titanic.
I often wonder how that fateful night in 1912 affected the survivors for the remainder of their lives. It is inconceivable that they would carry on living pretty much as they had before they got on that ship. If you were one of the rich on that ship, witnessing the terror and the utter powerlessness of your wealth to help you in that moment, having survived would you have lived the rest of your life with a new perspective on the value of money? Or if you were a member of one of those families for whom every member of the party made it onto a lifeboat, would you have lived the rest of your life with a deeper appreciation of family life, having nearly seen it snatched away? Or would old habits have crept back in with the passing years?
We expect certain events to be life-changing, don't we? There are some things which we cannot imagine going through without them profoundly shaping our lives. And the Apostle Paul feels the same way in the book of Titus. Throughout the letter, he points us to the fact that coming to know God through His Son is the most life-changing experience possible. And he expects it to make a difference. So as we arrive in chapter 3 (as we are here in ICT this Sunday) he continues to answer the question of how we can live the life of love and "true humility towards all men", and that answer is to remember the gospel. He encourages to remember what we once were, and the incredible generosity of God in sending His Son and pouring out His Holy Spirit.
With this in mind, it is not unreasonable to expect such a love to make a difference in our lives. In fact it is inconceivable that we wouldn't respond to such a God who shows such incomparable "kindness and love".