THE SHIP OF GOD
“Deep companion of the beings of light! In your mercy, give me your strength and help me with your own hand. Dress my soul, O Lord, and speak to me. Help me when enemies close in. … Beneficent friend, free me. My soul is crying in my body at every blow and dagger stab. My hour of life and this form in flesh is over, and all its days of turbulence. … Springs of darkness opened, and the giant fishes transfixed me with fear. My soul fainted before those dreadful forms, hideous to look at. Their bodies lack a human shape. These are the demons, the banished princes, transfixing me with terror. … They rose to drown me. In every neighborhood there were storm winds. Rain, the mist of all fogs, lightning and drums of thunder, shores of clouds, hail, crashing sea. The skiff rose over the crest of a wave and glided into a hidden trough. … With the drownings the sails swallowed water, and the masts shook together in the turmoil. The rudders dropped into the sea. Those left on board turned to stone. Redemption became a habit. From every source the wind blew the prison locks loose. Stars whirled wildly about, planets fell out of orbit. The earth shuddered, as did my foundation. Lofty heavens sank. … The wheel of the zodiac lost its course. The seal of my feet and joints of my toes, every link of my soul’s life was loosened. Each joint of my hands and fingers was loosened and its seal taken off. Their meaty life grew feeble. My limbs fell cold. My knees froze together in fear. In my legs the strength was struck and drained away. When I saw the dark, the strength in my limbs collapsed, and my soul moaned at all its opposing forms. Who will save me? Who will save me; make a new way? … Who will rip off this body and dress me in a new one? After I spoke with trembling soul I saw the savior.
“After I spoke with trembling soul I saw the savior and saw his helmsmen, who came down to dress my soul. I raised my eyes that way and saw deaths hidden by the envoy. Hurt was remote. So too sickness and distress. Their vision left, their darkness fled. Everything was holy and unsurpassed. Light shone elating and lovely, swelling my mind with gladness.” ~Parthian Songs
Ship of God?
This Parthian Manichean song is titled The Ship of God, yet when you read the first part of it, you would think it is more like the ship of Satan. In fact, it almost seems that the first part of the song is talking about a completely different ship than the final section. In truth, there is no ship at all, it is pure allegory. The allegory could represent the material world or the human soul. Both interpretations seem to work. This might be better titled Ship of God on the Sea of Satan.
Ship of God in a Storm
So the song starts with the singer being caught on the Ship of God in a raging storm and asking for help from a spiritual being that he calls a “companion of the beings of light.” Beings of Light is another name for Angels. So he is asking for help from the companion of Angels. Why he doesn’t simply ask God is unknown. Perhaps it is just his way of reminding the listeners that they too can become companions of Angels and be free from the storm of matter. Continue reading “Ship of God on a Stormy Sea”