“We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…” (Hebrews 6:19a)
In our sanctuary, you will find a stained-glass window featuring seven doves surrounding an anchor contained in a heart. The seven doves represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit alluded to in Isaiah 11:1-2. The heart represents our God who is the embodiment of love according to scripture. Yet, what’s the deal with the anchor?
It is likely the anchor became a Christian symbol very early on. Fishermen who intimately knew the dangers of the sea were Jesus’ first followers after all. They walked with Jesus during trying times – a time of radical change when they seemed surrounded by all kinds of threats. Where does a fisherman turn as storms approach? An anchor serves to moor a vessel and save it from destruction, and it is Jesus who desires to anchor and saves us.
It is little wonder then that this common image is used in Hebrews when the author speaks of the perils of falling away from our faith. The author writes, “For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
And what promises! Through faith, we share a certain hope of eternal salvation. We have an intimate connection to the love of God through the Holy Spirit and Christ’s Church. We are called to share in the glorious, life-transforming work of the Gospel. This is our call, and it will prove our joy.
I hope all of us enjoy summer activities and perhaps even travel, but I also encourage each of us to hold fast to our one and only anchor that can withstand any storm. No matter where we find ourselves, continue to worship, serve and rejoice in the Lord. Support the life of Christ’s church, and let the church support you. Together with Christ, we are not just able to survive life’s storms. We are being asked with Jesus to make them fade away forever.
Happy summer to one and all. May you be blessed to be a blessing.
Originally published in Messiah Lutheran’s newsletter, The Messenger (June 2017).
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2017 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.