"O Captain! My Captain!"
I love the show “Dead Poets Society.” Of course, I love everything poetry (even rap) and everything Robin Williams (even Mork & Mindy).
The saying, “O Captain! My Captain,” was first introduced after President Lincoln’s assassination in a poem written by Walt Whitman. Considering the movie “Dead Poets Society” took place in an English classroom and stemmed from unorthodox teaching seeking to challenge antiquated thought, Walt Whitman’s words were revived and used to display a deep respect for the beloved teacher. Upon Williams’ sudden death, the words “O Captain! My Captain!” flooded social media sites as a tribute from his fans.
Naval themes resonate throughout God’s word as we talk about rebellion in the Book of Jonah, the tongue in the Book of James, and the earth’s destruction in the Book of Revelations; just to name a few.
“But Jonah set out to flee Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:3
“Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.” James 3:4-5
“A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” Revelation 8:9
The phrase, “O Captain! My Captain!” both convicts me in my sin and comforts me in my weariness. Whether I am trying to flee the presence of God in order to have my own way or letting my tongue get the best of me, I know that in the end my God reigns. Even when the world begins to literally fall apart due to mankind’s destructive decisions and our disregard for the planet, our Captain is present and He will show up to accompany us in our final journey.