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A Sure And Steadfast Anchor

July 2024
1min read

The back cover of our April/May, 1979, issue featured a Mother’s Day card with an anchor as its motif, a characteristic we described as “inexplicable.” Now, the Reverend Charles A. Platt of Newton, New Jersey, and John Scheckter of Iowa City, Iowa, write to explain the inexplicable.

“The artist,” Reverend Platt tells us, “got his inspiration from the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews 6:19: ‘We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the Holy of Holies within the veil. ’ That text also inspired Edward Mote, a distinguished British divine, to write a hymn which was very popular in the early years of this century, ‘My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.’ One stanza includes the following couplet:‘In every high and stormy gale,/ My anchor holds within the veil.’ ”

And Mr. Scheckter notes that “the anchor is a traditional symbol of hope, associated with safe harbors and refuge.’ Its association with Motherhood is certainly susceptible to Freudian interpretation. There is a superstition that a sailor wearing the sign of the anchor could not drown; this, as well as pride of occupation, would account for the popularity of anchors as tattoos and for their presence on officers’ buttons. Herman Melville uses this superstition in Moby Dick , though of course nothing could help the Pequod .”

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