The word of the day is “anchor.” So many people these days are drifting. The currents of society are carrying them one way and then another. Subtle and almost irresistible influences are assailing believers and unbelievers. Our reading of Hebrews 6:13-20 offers us the only defense from manipulating these social forces. The apostle writes, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…” (NKJV vs. 18). Today our reading helps us to realize that nothing in this swirling world is unchanging. But this passage teaches us to look to our hope in the Eternal God to keep the sweeping forces of worldliness from overwhelming us.
The thing about drifting is that we don’t notice it. We aren’t aware of it unless we have some fixed point to orient ourselves. But our society provides no such marker. It offers us fashions, styles, trends, and fads that give us a momentary direction in life. But they are constantly changing, and they enslave us to inconstancy.
Losing Our Grip in the Tsunami of Worldly Influences
In the swirling milieu of today’s world, people with sense try to grab onto something that will hold them fast against the tides that sweep them along. But like those who try to hang onto a pole or branch in a tsunami, they finally lose their grip and are plunged into the surging water.
The wise eventually realize that nothing in this world is constant, fixed, or certain. Therefore, there is no possibility that we will find something we can depend on as long as we are tied to this earth. Consequently, we would be doomed to constant cycles of despair except for one thing, something that this world seems to forget. There is a higher reality beyond this swirling universe. There is the eternal God “with whom there is no shadow of turning” (OSB James 1:17).
Hope is the Anchor For Our Souls
Our reading proclaims that believers have a connection to this Eternal God. As an anchor is to a ship, so our hope in Christ is to our souls. That anchor is sure and steadfast (OSB vs. 19) because it is fixed to the Almighty, who is faithful and unfailing. The promises of God, His calling and His gifts, are both true and irrevocable (OSB Romans 11:29). So, the anchor of hope in Him will hold through all the storms of life and the currents of the changing world.
Anchors lie outside the ships that they hold fast. In the same way, the anchor that holds our souls secure lies in the Everlasting God and not anything in this passing world. Paul writes that our hope in Christ is “laid up” for us in the heavens (NKJV Colossians 1:5). The Greek word means to be “stored away” or “reserved” (Strong’s 606, 36). These terms assure us that our hope in the eternal life of the Kingdom is not yet realized, yet it is kept safe for us in heaven.
The apostle says in Hebrews that the Lord has taken our hope behind the veil. The veil represents the curtain that separated the place of the Throne of God in the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. As the ultimate High Priest, Jesus entered the Most Holy Place with His own blood to accomplish our deliverance (OSB Hebrews 9:12). Now He keeps the hope of our redemption with Him as He sits at the right hand of God.
Faith is the Connection to Our Hope
Yet as an anchor is connected to a ship by a stout chain or cable, so our souls are attached to the hope that lies in heaven hidden behind the veil of the Holy of Holies. What is that connection? Faith proceeds from and ties believers to their hope in Christ (NIV Colossians 1:5).
As long as our faith remains strong, we have a firm grounding in the assurance of hope. This anchor orients our lives toward our ultimate goal of sharing in the eternal life of the Holy Trinity. And it can save us from the worldly influences that threaten to destroy our souls.
In this world, expectations are thwarted, anticipations disappointed, and dreams dashed. But the realization of what we hope for in Christ will be more than we could expect or anticipate. It will be more than we could ever dream possible. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (NKJV 1Cor 2:9).
….”Yet as an anchor is connected to a ship by a stout chain or cable, so our souls are attached to the hope that lies in heaven hidden behind the veil of the Holy of Holies”….
Fr Basil, I love the symbol of an anchor and the strength and security that it implies. The thought of being connected to Heaven through Faith and Hope in Christ is very reassuring, especially in turbulent times.
Also, the image of a “stout chain” made me think about being part of a chain, a chain made by previous generations who are now in Heaven. I hope my faith will be strong enough not to break the chain of my family, and I hope one day to pass through the veil and to be reunited with them in Heaven.
That is my hope.
Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your extended interpretation of the metaphor of the chain. I like its application to Holy Tradition. God bless.