Wednesday, June 23, 2010

By their root you shall know them???

I have always loved listening to music. Ever since I was a little child I enjoyed listening to different types of music and singing along to it or playing along with it on my guitar. Even today when I hear certain words or phrases, songs immediately pop into my head and I feel the need to sing them. Every time that I hear Jesus’ words “By their fruits you will know them” I immediately think of the song “They’ll know we are Christians by our love” and the tune just doesn’t go away. Even now as I speak to you I am resisting the urge to hum the tune.

As we reflect on the gospel for today, it is pretty clear what the message is: we can see what is of God and what is not of God based on the fruits; thus the connection with people knowing we are Christians by our love. But I’d like to take a look at things from a different angle. We see the fruits, but what is really important is the roots – the part we don’t see.

In one of my classes at the seminary, we were given an illustration of the spiritual life. The professor said to think of ourselves as a big tree. We can have a big healthy trunk, beautiful green leaves, and an abundance of fruit, but if we are separated from the ground it all fades quickly. In the spiritual life, the ground is the Holy Trinity and we bear spiritual fruit only because our roots grow deeply into God’s love and peace. Our roots, by being immersed in the presence of God, are the means to our bearing great spiritual fruit because the soil of the Lord is the most fertile and life-sustaining soil one can find. And more than just bearing good fruit, as our roots begin to spread they not only draw life from the soil but become so connected to it that the two become one. We can recall from past hurricanes the image of fallen trees not just pulling up roots but bringing with them a huge chunk of the earth as well.

And now, as we prepare to enter into the presence of the Lord in a more real way, we pray that our roots might sink more deeply into His love, that we might not only bear good fruit but will be joined intimately to Him.