The HMCS Charlottetown docked on the Windsor waterfront on Friday. They crew have been giving tours from 1-5 PM on Saturday and again today at the same time. Catherinanne and I were pleased to attend a reception on her deck on Friday evening. If you have opportunity this afternoon, by all means go down to Dieppe Gardens and see this great ship.
The ship’s presence got me thinking about an old hymn we used to sing at home in Whiteway at the Church of St. George the Martyr. “We Have an Anchor.”
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.
It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Saviour’s hand;
And the cables, passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy that blast, thro’ strength divine.
It will surely hold in the Straits of Fear—
When the breakers have told that the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.
It will firmly hold in the Floods of Death—-
When the waters cold chill our latest breath,
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the Veil.
When our eyes behold through the gath’ring night
The city of gold, our harbour bright,
We shall anchor fast by the heav’nly shore,
With the storms all past forevermore.
I have spent some time reflecting over this past week about where we anchor our trust. We all know that there are storms and challenges in life. God knows that some people seem to have to weather one storm after the next in life. I am certain when I look at what some people face and stare down, that they are able to do so because of where they place their trust.
Sometimes the storms that face us are deeply rooted in our day to day interaction with people that we encounter everyday, in our families, in our work, or even at our churches. Yesterday this little note came across ‘the wire’ from the Henri Nouwen Society.
“When we are anxious we are inclined to over-prepare. We wonder what to say when we are attacked, how to respond when we are being interrogated, and what defence to put up when we are accused. It is precisely this turmoil that makes us lose our self-confidence and creates in us a debilitating self-consciousness.
Jesus tells us not to prepare at all and to trust that he will give us the words and wisdom we need. What is important is not that we have a little speech ready but that we remain deeply anchored in the love of Jesus, secure about who we are in this world and why we are here. With our hearts connected to the heart of Jesus, we will always know what to say when the time to speak comes.”
Sometimes in the community of God, in our families, or in our workplace we find ourselves doing what Nouwen talks about in this meditation. It is not uncommon for conflict to arise in all communities, even church communities. I think healthy communities have conflict, at the same time having the courage to trust in Jesus and deal with it properly.
Self confidence is a tricky thing for sure. Sometimes we lack it and often we have to search for it. We find it lost when we are often at our most vulnerable. The temptation is to fall into the trap of thinking that we are in control. I find the thought of being in control awfully inviting. I like the thought that if I prepare myself, I can deal with any attack that might come my way. I have discovered that Jesus is the rock for me however, and that if I lean on his love and guidance I will be ok and I will get past the insecurity that arises from within me when I have been attacked.
Have you found yourself in positions of conflict? Have you felt insecure or lacked confidence in responding? Have you been in the position of thinking that you could prepare yourself for any challenges that might arise and still found yourself levelled and unable to respond? If you are anything like me, your probably have. Nouwen reminds us that the best answer to all this is to stand firm in the confidence that God gives us. We need to step back from the arrogance of the assumption that we are in charge, that we can respond on our own, and embrace the idea that we can lean on the very one who gives us life. I often try and remind myself of how much God will give me guidance when I feel assailed by repeating the words of St. Augustine – “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” The truth is, I am not alone and I do not respond alone. The truth is that you too are not alone and you do not need to respond alone. God hears, God comforts, and God reacts! God calls us to hear, to comfort and to react. We do this side by side with the great Counsellor. The great mystic St. Teresa of Avila put it this way, “The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”
Can we embrace the idea that God Journeys with us and trust God to give us voice in the midst of all of our conversations? Where is our anchor grounded?