“Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise/ Refuge of strength to the end./ Righteous redeemer and mighty to save/ He’s the anchor of hope for all men.”- Ellie Holcomb, Anchor of Hope
“On that evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”- John 20:19-20 (NIV)
Wherever you go, there you are.”- Thomas a Kempis
The Harris’s hawk, native to the southwestern United States, is larger than a Cooper’s Hawk, but smaller than a Golden Eagle. In addition, the length of a Harris’s hawk ranges from 18 to 23 inches. And its wingspan varies from 41 to 47 inches. Females weigh nearly twice as much as males.
Harris’s hawks usually nest in small trees like the mesquite or paloverde. They also nest in organ pipe cacti and in the arms of the giant saguaro, 12-25 feet above the ground. Also, these hawks hunt actively in low flight, pursuing prey around bushes and thickets. Their long, yellow legs allow them to chase prey along the ground. In one hunting technique, several Harris’s hawks surround their prey, while another hawk flushes it out. Most significantly, Harris’s hawks cooperated in the hunting and nesting process. No other bird of prey is known to hunt in groups as routinely.
Thus, Harris’s hawks stay put in one place to achieve their hunting goal. Writing in The Power of Place (2021), Daniel Grothe observes that God assesses the fruitfulness of our lives by the quality of our service to the people around us. With our righteous redeemer, Jesus, as our anchor of hope. Pastor Grothe explains:
“In fact, sometimes the most significant thing you can do is stay in a place — stay for the long haul, stay and give your life away for the good of these people in this place (emphasis Daniel’s).”
However, Pastor Grothe counsels, avoid leaning toward what he terms accidental Gnosticism. As a result, Christians who espouse this concept think of themselves as eternal souls trapped in transitory bodies. Yet, the physical stuff of our very existence matters to God. And, as poet, essayist, and novelist Wendell Berry underscores, God calls us to love in particular the little worlds that we all inhabit. Furthermore, Berry adds: “No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly.”
In conclusion, Wendell Berry stresses, only two types of places exist in the world: sacred and desecrated. Hence, there’s no such place as nowhere. So, we need to see beauty right where God has placed us. The mysteries we behold around us metabolize a kind of reverent holiness within us as we stabilize ourselves in our anchor of hope. Even if Nazareth is that place. Pastor Grothe encourages:
“Jesus coming from Nazareth is a statement once and for all that there is no such place as nowhere. The God of eternity past moved into the ‘middle of nowhere’ so that from then on, every place is a somewhere.”
Consequently, Pastor Grothe emphasizes, treat your place sacredly, as the holy ground upon which God visits you. As you commit to and persevere through the inconveniences in this place, the author notes, you’ll gain the greatest treasures. And perhaps Jesus knows that the inconvenience evoking your feeling of ‘stuck’ = the gift you didn’t know you needed. Value a love of – and devotion to – your place. One person and need at a time.