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When You Feel Spiritually Adrift

– by Adriel Sanchez –

Most of us are familiar with the symbol of the Christian fish. We see it all over the place today on cars (perhaps you have a fish decal) and even in churches. The fish was an ancient symbol of the Christian faith because the Greek word for fish, ἰχθύς(pronounced Icthus), was used as an acrostic that spelled out who Jesus was: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. Since Christians identified with Jesus, the fish became a popular symbol that is still common today.

Did you know that early on there was a symbol that was even more prevalent than the fish, though? Deep in the catacombs—subterranean graveyards where Christians were buried—the most prevalent image used by the faithful was the image of an anchor. One scholar notes that in the ancient cemetery of Priscilla, just north of Rome, when an image appeared on a gravesite, 70% of the time the image was an anchor (in contrast, the fish appeared only 8% of the time).[1]

Before the early catacombs were filled with fish or crosses, nautical tool was used to encourage believers. 

The anchor reminded Christians that their hope was secure in something that transcended this world. It pointed them away from themselves to someone strong and stable that they could be confident in. This is supported by the anchor imagery found in one of the earliest sermons we have, the letter to the Hebrews, dating sometime between 50-70AD. In chapter six the author comments on the hope we have as believers, saying, “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” (Heb. 6:19-20).

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When You Feel Spiritually Adrift

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