Albright United Methodist Church
Many trees on the shores of Lake Superior jut out and grow on the sheer cliffs and rocky ledges. The long roots, like scouts in search of food and protection, bury themselves in cracks and crevices. The trees grow strong and straight even in solid rock because the roots provide nourishment and support even in the most precarious positions.
The apostle Paul knew that the strength of our faith is not determined by what shows on the outside. The power and persistency and source of our faith is not always displayed to all the world, like the leaves or branches of a tree. Instead, true faith develops in our unseen lives. True faith comes from the roots, from deep inside our hearts. True faith begins in the darkness of our fears and in the shadows of our soul. Our faith, our life in Christ, grows and develops from within. As Paul says, it is "rooted and built up" in Jesus.
A young woman who had just started college wrote an e-mail to a friend saying, "I think it's kind of neat, and it's a lot of fun here in college, because unlike high school, no one makes you feel stupid for being smart." She was sensing the joy of having others look beyond the branches and the leaves and to appreciate the heart and roots of who she was as a person.
God isn't concerned with the make-up; God wants to start working with the roots, because in the roots there is life and growth and nourishment. If you cut off the branches of a tree, it can still grow. But if you cut off the roots, cut off the source of growth, it withers and dies.
Be "rooted and built up" in Christ. It's not an easy task. It takes courage to begin in the darkness of our souls to let Christ's light shine in. But it's also deep in the roots that we can believe in a God that can bring healing and life, even in the midst of death and destruction. It's deep in the roots where the movement of the Holy Spirit can begin to make changes. God is waiting to get involved in our lives to give us an abundant life, but God needs room to work. God needs access to the roots so that we can be firmly planted and grounded in the source of all creation and goodness.
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6-7) If we are not rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ, we will wither and die.