John Wesley came to realize how little he really knew of Jesus in the middle of the Atlantic, on board the Simmonds, when a storm broke out. A group of Moravian missionaries happened to be having a worship service on deck at the time. Wesley records that, when the storm became intense, “a terrible screaming began among the English.” But “the Germans looked up, and without intermission calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterwards, ‘Were you not afraid?’ He answered, ‘I thank God, no.’ I asked, ‘But were not your women and children afraid?’ He replied mildly, ‘No; our women and children are not afraid to die.’” Wesley then saw that something was missing from his life. He found it in Christ.
When – alas, probably not “If” – the next 9/11 hits us, may we serve
and help in every way we can. But through it all, may we not yield to
hysteria. May we calmly sing on. It will make an everlasting
difference to others.
The Wesley episode narrated in A. Skevington Wood, The Inextinguishable Blaze: Spiritual Renewal and Advance in the Eighteenth Century (Grand Rapids, 1968), pages 105-106.
“. . . not afraid to die”