Friday, November 2, 2018
King Canute on the Seashore – 2 November 2018
NDthe same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:35-41)
Many Godly stories permeate the folklore of jolly old England. Most are informed by Holy Writ which has been written into the hearts of her people of old. The very culture of England’s legacy reflects a rich Christian heritage. In fact, all of Europe shares in that legacy. The stories of the Brother’s Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, and others, reflect biblical principles and mysteries that enlighten the youthful mind on the tenets of the Holy Bible. Such stories are Sleeping Beauty (or Briar Rose), Cinderella, Snow White & Rose Red, etc. These all have Gospel implications that stir the imagination of youth, and of elder men and women who have “become as little children” in the Hands of God.
The following story is taken from “Fifty Famous Stories Retold” by James Baldwin (1896)
King Canute on the Seashore
A hundred years or more after the time of Alfred the Great there was a king of England named Canuté. King Canute was a Dane; but the Danes were not so fierce and cruel then as they had been when they were at war with King Alfred. The great men and officers who were around King Canute were always praising him.
"You are the greatest man that ever lived," one would say.
Then another would say, "O king! there can never be an-other man so mighty as you."
And another would say, "Great Canute, there is nothing in the world that dares to disobey you."
The king was a man of sense, and he grew very tired of hearing such foolish speeches. One day he was by the seashore, and his officers were with him. They were praising him, as they were in the habit of doing. He thought that now he would teach them a lesson, and so he bade them set his chair on the beach close by the edge of the water.
"Am I the greatest man in the world?" he asked.
"O king!" they cried, "there is no one so mighty as you."
"Do all things obey me?" he asked.
"There is nothing that dares to disobey you, O king!" they said.
"The world bows before you, and gives you honor."
"Will the sea obey me?" he asked; and he looked down at the little waves which were lapping the sand at his feet.
The foolish officers were puzzled, but they did not dare to say "No."
"Command it, O king! and it will obey," said one.
"Sea," cried Canute, "I command you to come no farther! Waves, stop your rolling, and do not dare to touch my feet!"
But the tide came in, just as it always did. The water rose higher and higher. It came up around the king's chair, and wet not only his feet, but also his robe. His officers stood about him, alarmed, and wondering whether he was not mad. Then Canute took off his crown, and threw it down upon the sand.
"I shall never wear it again," he said. "And do you, my men, learn a lesson from what you have seen. There is only one King who is all-powerful; and it is he who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of his hand. It is he whom you ought to praise and serve above all others."
No earthly king can claim the Sovereignty that belongs alone to the King of Kings – the Lord Jesus Christ.