"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
- Jeremiah 17:7–8 (ESV)
Have you ever seen a stray dog? They typically are past shy to the point of being skittish. They are unkempt and mangy, with dirt and flies in their fur coat. Home is wherever they lay their head that night, though they probably have a favorite spot. Food is hard to come by and the vitality is gone from their eyes.
Transience and identity crises pervade our culture. When a person moves their residence frequently, and is never deeply known in healthy relationship, it can feel like being a stray dog. As people move into cities, relocate for school and jobs or to find better schools for their kids, they never get the chance to put down deep relational roots. They are like trees transplanted every two years, whose root system is choked and cut down by the process.
Lack of deep relationship and fixation on career and posturing to appear successful and put together cause us to become confused about who we really are.
Being rooted is living a lifestyle of stability. Being rooted is building your life on a firm foundation. It is digging down and seeking the deep places where the water can nourish our souls, minds, and bodies.
At Church of the Resurrection the first part of our vision is to be rooted disciples of Jesus Christ. First and foremost this means that we, as Christians, are rooted in Christ himself. It means our love, identities, and allegiance are in him. Because he has united us to himself by faith, we have the opportunity to follow him, and in so doing, be true to ourselves as God created us.
Not only are we rooted in Jesus Christ, but we are rooted in the Holy Scriptures. They contain everything that is necessary for salvation and show us how to live holy lives. The writings of the Old and New Testaments are our primary source for knowledge of who God is, and what he is doing in the world.
We are also rooted in our Anglican identity. As Anglicans, we follow Jesus in a certain way. Our tradition is full of resources and guidance on how to pray, worship, and seek after Jesus. We prioritize and value deeply Scripture, tradition, prayer, the Sacraments, order, and simple beauty. These form a Christian identity and guide for us to rest in. This can be explored further in our three posts on our Anglican beliefs, worship, and spirituality.
Lastly, but maybe less obviously, we are rooted in a place. In order to fulfill the rest of our vision at Church of the Resurrection we have to be committed to the place we live. We strive to put down deep roots and to love the place where God has planted us. This stability of place helps us to slow down and to resist the urge to constantly make progress according to the world's terms and trust God's hand in our lives. Longevity in a place gives us the opportunity to cultivate deep relationships that we desperately need as humans made in the image of our relational God.
Rootedness is stability and deep strength. With deep roots, we can yield healthy leaves and fruit and be a blessing to others. With deep roots we can withstand the winds and storms that will come our way in this life. With deep roots, we can be the people God has called us to be.