Spectacle Reef Lighthouse, photo courtesy US Coast Guard
Awakened to the challenges of these people, Reverend Law dedicated the rest of his life to improving their lives any way he could by carrying the “Gospel of Humanity” to every life-saving station and lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
From delivering books and magazines to writing letters, Reverend Law brought communication from the outside world to help alleviate their loneliness. When the US Coast Guard adopted radio technology in the 1920’s, Reverend Law communicated through radio messages. To help them financially, he petitioned Congress and was instrumental in passing a pension law, the Coast Guard Act of 1915.
Eventually, Reverend Law expanded his scope to all the lighthouses of the United States, visiting as many as possible. Connie Small, wife of lightkeeper Elson Small at Avery Rock, Maine, mentioned Reverend Law in her book, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife. In a letter to him, she said that sometimes while she listened to the radio, “waves are breaking over the rocks 40-50 feet high. It makes me wonder about the mighty power of God, listening as we do… to one of his preachers while His works are manifested before us.”
Reverend Law realized one of the most important services he provided was mental first aid. “I have come to understand with my experiences with these people, that loneliness is not only a terrible thing, but it shocks the finer sensibilities of a man. A little cheer with a smile works in all countries among people of different languages…If this funny old world is ever to make friends with itself, it will be the face with the sincere smile that wins, associated with kindly service that will make people feel a little bit better satisfied with themselves and take a little strain off their hearts and minds.” As such, he often sprinkled his messages with funny stories.
Reverend Law ministered to the soul, spirit and body, demonstrating the proverb
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV
Can you cheer anyone up today?
*Sky pilot is sailors’ slang for slang for a preacher.
Information for this story is from Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes by John Kotzian, great, great grandson of Reverend Law.