One of the things that did not make the cut was a visit to the famed RMS Queen Mary, the luxurious ocean liner that is now permanently moored in the harbor in Long Beach, California.
The reason I had so desired to see this ship was because of something my grandfather once shared. I do not know his source; but his story has been recounted by numerous others since. For example, in his November 11, 2013 blog post titled Is It Just Spiritual Window-Dressing?, Scott Smith shares the following about the celebrated ship.
In 1936, the Cunard Line launched what was then the largest passenger ship in the world. At 83,243 gross tons, she was the largest ship and the fastest ship traveling back and forth from Southampton to New York at a recording setting speed of 31 knots. During World War II, the ship was converted to a troop carrier and at the close of the war it returned to passenger service.
In the spring of 1956, the Smith family made a foggy voyage from Southampton, England to New York aboard the Queen Mary, so the ship has a place in my family history. The ship was retired in 1967 and has been a floating tourist attraction in Long Beach, California ever since.
When the ship was being refurbished for its new role in Long Beach, they needed to remove its smokestacks to complete the work. They were to be repainted and put back in place. The smokestacks were 36 feet long and 23 feet wide. The front stack was 70 feet tall and they went down in size to the rear which was 62 feet tall.
When they were removing them, they discovered that the nearly inch thick steel of the smokestacks had corroded on the inside very badly. Thirty layers of paint on the outside was (in some places) all that was holding them up. A beautify exterior covered a crumbling interior. External appearance was hiding the decaying internal reality!
Pastor Smith goes on to note that the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah (in chapter 58) berates the children of Israel for “trying to cover a decaying spiritual life with a coat of ritualistic paint”! This business of appearing to be one thing on the outside, yet being something entirely different on the inside was also picked up on by Jesus Christ. Like Isaiah, he challenged the religious people of His day not to be hypocritical.
In the twenty-third chapter of Matthew’s New Testament Gospel, Jesus speaks seven woes against the hypocritical Pharisees of His day. In two of these, numbers five and six (recorded in verses 25-28), He declares:
25“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
In light of this, we would all do well to give regular consideration to how well we look, not only on the outside, but also on the inside. For as the Bible tells us (in 1 Samuel 16:7), "The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
STORY SOURCE: https://faithgrip.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/is-it-just-spiritual-window-dressing/.
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/23.htm and http://biblehub.com/1_samuel/16-7.htm.