... We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a Forerunner on our behalf .... Hebrews 6:18b-20a
Having received threats that promised a long, legal battle, the City Council in Grand Haven, Michigan, has voted to take the 48-foot cross, which stands on a hill overlooking their city, and convert it to an anchor.
The reactions to the decision are mixed:
* Some are upset to see this symbol of the Savior being removed and reduced.
* Others are rejoicing that one more "illegal" Christian image has been disposed of.
It's that second group, the ones who think they've won a victory by turning the cross into an anchor; those are the ones who are making me smile. I'm smiling because they haven't won a victory at all. All they have done is substituted one Christian symbol for another.
Let me explain. If you examine the graves of the first Christian martyrs you will find many are decorated with a symbol.
That symbol is not the cross; it is an anchor.
In those early days of persecution, using passages like the one from above, Christians let other believers know their faith was anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ. On their graves they made a very quiet, albeit public proclamation, that in all the storms which had swirled around them, the anchor of faith had kept them confident in Jesus, who had won their salvation.
I guess it's not so very different today.
We also are living in a time when Christians are being persecuted. The world still hates Jesus. It detests His sacrifice and despises the victory He has won for us. To keep the story of salvation from spreading, they are banning our symbols, banning the sharing of Scripture, and doing their best to push Jesus back into His empty tomb.
Folks, after watching what happened in Grand Haven, you have to admit, these guys who want the cross taken down are pretty good at what they do.
That being said, we also have to acknowledge they may be good at taking the cross down, but the Holy Spirit is even better at making sure God's people can clearly see their crucified and risen Redeemer. Take down the cross, the Lord will put up an anchor. Cross or anchor makes no difference to us, they both point with pride to our living Lord Jesus.
So, as the anti-Christian-crosses-in-public-places people are congratulating themselves in their victory at Grand Haven, Michigan, I hope the Christians of that community will also rejoice and say to everyone who drives through their beautiful town, "See that anchor up on the hill? It says our faith is anchored in Jesus, who gives us hope and salvation."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Holy Spirit confuses and confounds the proud people of this world. Grant that I may always be a person of faith, a person who is anchored in Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries