Let Down Your Anchor
Hello Cathedral Friends!
Dean Thompson is taking a much-deserved vacation — and so it is my privilege in his absence to offer a reflection for the week ahead.
Many years ago, I learned from a spiritual director that the traditional Christian symbol for hope is an anchor. This idea of hope as an anchor surprised me, because at the time I had a tendency to confuse hope with aspiration. Back then, I thought of hope as something more akin to a wish: a longing for some future outcome. If I’d chosen an image to reflect my understanding of hope, it might have been a bird soaring in the clouds, or a twinkling star. Something far off, out on the horizon. I didn’t understand: How was hope like an anchor?
In my faith journey, I’ve learned that when I’m puzzled by something in our tradition — be that a passage of scripture, a prayer from the liturgy, a ritual, a custom, or in this case a symbol — it’s usually because I’m missing something, not because the tradition is misguided.
As we all know, an anchor is a heavy thing, standard equipment on a boat. Its function is to keep a boat in place amidst the currents and tides. In a storm, an anchor is thrown overboard to stabilize a boat by increasing drag through turbulent waters. When the winds are strong and the seas are rough, sailors drop anchor so they won’t be blown off course; when the storm passes, they will know more or less where they are and can continue from there on their journey.
When I was a girl, I attended Camp Gulf Park, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. One afternoon, my friend and I decided to take one of the little Sunfish sailboats to try our hand at sailing. We sailed out a-ways, and it was great fun. But when we tried to turn the boat around to head back to shore, we couldn’t do it. We must have “come about” six times, trying to get the boat headed in the right direction. By then we were past the end of the pier — our boundary for how-far-was-too-far.
I thought maybe I could jump overboard and tow the boat back. But when I looked into the water, I realized we were surrounded by a school of jellyfish. We waved our arms in the air trying to get the attention of a counselor, or someone, to come save us; but no one seemed to notice us. Finally, my friend had the bright idea to drop the anchor. We did, and we stopped drifting. Eventually we were rescued — by Mitch, the handsome and super-cool water ski instructor. We were so embarrassed (but also secretly thrilled).
As followers of Jesus, our hope is found in God’s enduring love for us and grounded in God’s promise of unending life in him. Paul talks about this hope in his letter to the Hebrews. Paraphrasing somewhat, Paul says:
We who have taken refuge in the promises of God are encouraged to take a hold of the hope that is set before us. We have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor for our soul, a hope that reaches beyond the veil. (Hebrews 6:18-19)
What if hope is more than a wish for a better future? What if it is an anchor we let down into the depths of our faith — something weighty, heavy, that we sink down into, below the surface of what we can see, underneath the wind and the waves, to the deepest parts of our being? What if hope is an anchor for our souls, holding us fast to the Spirit of God, who intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words?
When we find ourselves adrift among jellyfish, when the wind keeps changing direction, when the current is pulling us out to sea and the tides of these troubled times are threatening to take us off course, wishing for safe harbor will not be enough to get us home.
Let down your anchor. Sink deep into the promises of God. And hope.
Worship Schedule for Sunday, July 19
This Sunday, July 19, our worship services will be live-streamed. Please join us from your home for Holy Eucharist, Rite I, at 11 a.m.; La Santa Eucaristía, Rito II, a la 1:00 p.m.; and The Well, Celtic Eucharist, at 5 p.m. We will not worship in-person this week due to COVID-19 conditions in Houston.
We also encourage parishioners to watch together on Facebook Live, where a Cathedral priest will be available to communicate with you during the service and take prayer requests, or on our website at the links above. Our Sunday formation offerings for kids and adults continue as scheduled with "This is My Story, This is My Song" at 10 a.m. on Zoom, and "Dean's Hour Summer Matinee" at 2 p.m. on Facebook Live. We will monitor conditions weekly, and as soon as we are able to return to in-person worship, we will do so.
Virtual Summer Place This Sunday, July 19
Brew up some coffee, grab a donut and crank up the Zoom! Sunday at 10 a.m., you're invited to a relaxed Virtual Summer Place. Join fellow parishioners in coffee-hour conversation for an informal check-in and renewed connection. Using Zoom’s breakout features, we’ll have an opportunity to visit with both familiar and new faces to learn what’s going on in our church and in our lives. Mark your calendars for this “no reading required,” light-hearted community fellowship hosted by John Flanagan and the Mission and Ministry Committee of the Vestry. For the link to join the conversation, contact Christy Orman at corman@
Supporting the Cathedral
Even as we worship from home, the Cathedral is engaged in ministry. Our pastoral care, outreach, worship, and program ministries of the Cathedral carry on, and supporting Cathedral ministries is as important as ever. You can make your offering in any of these ways:
Visit the Cathedral Give page to find out the many ways you can support our church
Make an offering or give in other ways using PayPal
Text the word “Give” to 888-998-1634
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Kathy Rock Pfister, Canon Vicar