Erin and I just took our 1st cruise together and it was AMAZING! Five days of nothing to do but relax without many expectations of either of us. We have joked that all we did was eat and sleep. In full disclosure, we did a fair amount of both.
We also explored the entire ship. We went to all the eating establishments and passed by every beverage station (both the coffee and alcoholic versions). We attended the art auction. We spent a very long-time watching people attempt to surf at the “Flow Rider,” as well as curvy slides and rock climbing. We stepped into a silent disco (which was a surprisingly great time!), as well as entertaining the idea of watching a comedian, an ice-skating show and even a juggler. We even watched a game of Bingo from the sidelines that brought many hoping they would win their next cruise.
We strolled through the casino but spent zero time there. We went to the library and had a wonderful conversation with a college student leaving to join the Air National Guard soon. We stumbled on the most delightful game of Lip-Syncing on the promenade. We watched the ship leave port from the best Titanic location and we “supervised” the Captain from the behind the bridge on a viewing deck.
We even went to the fitness center. Once. For a selfie.
Thank God we did not see the infirmary or the morgue, despite knowing they were both on the ship’s lower decks.
You know what we didn’t see? The Chapel. We totally missed seeing the church area reserved on the ship. It’s ironic that two Jesus loving girls who co-founded Iron Porch would miss that area, right?!?!?
Except that our ship didn’t have a chapel. Many ships don’t have this area set aside for worship and/or prayer. While some ships have chapels, but they are reserved for an exclusive wedding package.
I’ve been pondering on the lack of a chapel or religious services for a few days. We were on a floating city for several days and had access to Wi-Fi, gambling, fitness center, spa and salon, entertainment, and impressive chef staff. But we couldn’t go to a reserved spot to pray or read religious materials.
Interesting dynamic, don’t you think?
Does that mean the tourist and vacationing industry don’t see value in a religious space? Is our spiritual walk not important on vacation? Does the average person take a “vacation” from their religion while they are on vacation? In a politically correct world, are we so afraid of offending ship passengers that it was decided not to create religious space?
There are potentially bigger questions, as a result of the lack of vacation chapels. When we aren’t on vacation, are we only seeking Jesus in a formal space, such as our churches or prayer closets? Or are we seeking God in every and all situations, in any setting?
I’d venture to guess that many who make Jesus a priority in their lives will do it with or without a formal space, such as a chapel. Erin and I found a way to stay close to God without a cruise ship chapel. We prayed as we walked the outer deck and before meals. We had time to read devotions by the pool or on the balcony.
We made time to stay connected to the Lord on vacation.
I’m wondering if there were others like us who are deliberately making time. Both on vacation and at home. I’m wondering if the lack of formalized space, such as a chapel, leads to the temptation to step away from quality time with Jesus while on vacation…or in our everyday life.
Do you need the cruise ship chapel to be reminded to draw close to God?