Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Lenten Reflection: The Spiritual Practice of Anchoring in God

From Hebrews, chapter 6: “We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.”

In the early Christian church, before Christianity was legal, persecuted Christians used secret symbols to communicate their faith to one another. In the catacombs, where they would meet, there are still symbols that one can make out. Among them is the anchor.
Anyone who has slept on board a boat will appreciate that anchors are symbols of safety and security. It is reassuring to know that your anchor is well-set, so that you will not drag anchor while you sleep an awake having run aground.

The symbol of the anchor was particularly meaningful for Greek speakers, because the word ankura is close to “en kurio”, which means, “In the Lord.” There’s an old African-American spiritual that goes, “my soul’s been anchored, anchored in the Lord, in the Lord, in the Lord.”

But how exactly does one anchor in the Lord? Perhaps it is like Martin Luther’s explanation to the First Commandment: you shall have no other gods before me. Luther says this means that “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”
Anchoring in God comes by learning to love God through hearing God’s word, by praying and sharing our burdens with God, by learning to see God in our midst, and by trusting God with all the uncertainties we hold in our hearts.

This is not to say that it is easy to set an anchor well. Sometimes, you have to try, realize that the anchor did not set- because you are dragging anchor, pull up the anchor, and try again. When we find that we are dragging anchor, that we are drifting far away from that which gives us hope and life, God invites us to anchor again in his steadfast love and mercy and then rest again in his grace. Amen.

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