Shaped like a thick, yellow bowl with a plunger poking out of it, the first anchor I saw in person was not at all what I had expected. It had neither hooks nor barbs and was missing the crosspiece at the top. My father and I were in my Uncle Kenneth’s bass fishing boat. We’d just arrived at his “secret cove” on Lake Texoma, far from our put-in point on the Oklahoma shore of the lake where we’d been camping.
Uncle Kenneth shut off the outboard motor and asked me to drop the anchor. It went in with a “sploosh” sound and quickly sank from sight, pulling in several yards of rope on as it went. Once it settled, he had me wrap the line around a bracket, leaving the spare rope coiled in the bottom of the boat. Though the wind shifted the position of our boat all morning long, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, turning us this way and that, the anchor held us securely. Long after the thermoses of coffee had been emptied and the sandwiches, eaten, we remained in place in Kenneth’s cove.
’ve never been a particularly good fisherman, and I’d rather be in a canoe or kayak over a bass boat any day. But I cherish the memories from the long hours spent anchored with my father and uncle, casting our fishing lines, listening to their memories and stories as they laughed and loved each other, and me. In that boat, I felt at home in my family, and in the world. Anchored in that cove, I felt part of the family’s history. I belonged to and was part of something bigger than myself, something that started long before I existed – something I’d be part of forever. Like our boat, I was anchored.
“Anchored in Faith” speaks to me, as I hope it does you. This year’s Stewardship theme describes our experience of being part of the church – both this church, our church, First Church Congregational, and the whole of the Christian church. And it speaks to the blessing the church has been for us, and continues to be, in difficult times.
Our faith anchors us in God. It reminds us, time and again, of divine love and mercy that hold us each and every day, and for all eternity. It teaches us that God is our source of strength when we feel weak and of hope when we feel most desperate. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God,” the apostle Paul said. As we gather, week after week, Seeking God in worship and in prayer, we learn to trust heavenly love to hold us, and to see us through. The hardest of days can become bearable, even joyful.
Our faith anchors us in community. We are part of a church together. We are family. We belong to each other, you and I, and are better for the experience. We live and love together, sharing life with all of its joys and sorrows. We hold one another in our tears and offer help and hope when we can. Caring for each other is essential to who we are and what we do. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought this home for each of us, helping us to recognize the joy and blessings of being community together, even when meeting virtually or from a social distance.
Our faith anchors us in the world. Bound securely to God and with our church family, we are free truly to serve God in the world around us. We learn to trust ourselves to heavenly love, and to the care of our church family. We realize we have all that we need to see us through any circumstance. Because we are anchored, we can set about the work of Improving our community through service in Christ’s name.
Anchored in faith to God, our church, and the world, we learn to recognize our capacity to live with glad and generous hearts. We come to trust in the abundance of our lives and learn to give our time and our treasure to foster ministries of love and compassion in Christ’s name, both in the church and in the world. Secure in an assurance of divine providence, we dedicate all of our resources to God, both what we keep and what we give away. We strive to make our lives a testimony to a love that binds us together, holds us secure and sets us free.
In the first three worship services of November, we’ll be reflecting together on what it means to be “Anchored in Faith,” both individually and as a community. I hope you’ll join us for each of these services. I hope you’ll join us, too, in lending your financial support to the ministry of First Church Congregational in this important time in our history.
photo of Lake Texoma from Google