Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the
strength, courage, hope and love.
The above prayer was sent to me by a friend, and I liked it. I even like the fact it is attributed to Sir Francis Drake, the English privateer, navigator, politician, and slave trader. It fits in nice with the whole “history teacher” thing, don’t you think?
The word “attributed” is code for “we don’t really know”, so I went on a little research jaunt to discover a little more about Drake’s religious proclivities. His father was a Protestant farmer turned preacher. In 1549, however, being a Protestant during the Prayer Book Rebellion wasn’t a good thing as the family had to flee their home environmment for Kent.
Historians have been able to verify through other first-hand accounts that upon landing on the west coast of North America, Drake’s chaplain held Holy Communion; this was one of the first Protestant church services in the New World. From this it would seem that Drake was a believer.
Unfortunately we don’t have diaries or papers that could show us exactly how Drake felt about God, or how he was able to connect a Christian belief with being a slave trader and ruthless warrior and politician. All of his first-hand records from voyages, including his logs, paintings, and charts were lost when Whitehall Palace burned in 1698.
Also, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that all of Drake’s movements should be considered the highest of state secrets since the Spanish would have loved to obtain the mass of data Drake had acquired on his voyages, and they wouldn’t have minded getting their hands on Drake as well. While he was a well known English hero, the Spanish considered him nothing more than a pirate.
In fact, the Spanish nicknamed Drake, “El Draque”, probably originates from an old Spanish word meaning “the dragon”. The English etymological root is also the same since both languages are based in Latin. After the defeat of the Spanish Armada, Spain’s King Philip II placed a price of 20,000 ducats on the head of Francis Drake.
There is also other evidence to show Drake was not as Christian-like as we would wish him to be today……In 1578, Drake accused his co-commander, Thomas Doughty, of witchcraft during a shipboard trial. Mutiny and treason were also charges against Doughty. Drake did consent to have Communion with Doughty and actually dined with him as well, however, Doughty was beheaded on July 2nd, 1578 having been denied a request to see Drake’s commission from the Queen to carry out such trials and was also denied his request to be taken back to England for trial.
So much for Christian behavior.
While I have no problem asking God to disturb me and disturb me often, I am also disturbed a bit today by Mr. Drake.