Bread – Rooted

May 18, 2011


Readings for Wednesday, May 18, designated by the Book of Common Prayer: *; Col. 1:24-2:7; Luke 6:27-38; Psalm 49, 53, 119:49-72

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In Colossians today we read: “So then, just as your 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.” Col. 2:6-7

What does it mean to be “rooted” in something? We can all imagine roots, those things below the ground which are necessary to the life and wellbeing of trees and plants, but the concept is even richer than that. Webster’s Dictionary defines “root” as “the part of a plant … which lacks nodes, shoots, and leaves, holds the plant in position, draws water and nourishment from the soil, and stores food.” Another definition is “the source, origin, or cause of an action, quality, condition, etc.”

The “lacks nodes, shoots, and leaves” suggests that, when we are rooted in Christ, we need add nothing to the relationship. The root is sufficient for its task and there is no need for embellishment. The “holds the plant in position” means that, when we have strong roots in Christ, when we are well-rooted, we are stable and we cannot easily be moved by the wind or torn from His grasp. Since the soil is what the plant’s root is in, when we are rooted in Christ we “draw water and nourishment” from Him, both of which are essential to life. Finally, the root stores food, so when drought and heat come, there is a store of provision from which to draw. Being rooted in Christ means that we have a storehouse of food from which we can draw in times of need.

But we don’t understand this very well because, well look, we aren’t planted in the ground. We have feet and we walk around, we have mobility, we have freedom of choice. Therefore, to us, having roots is more of an intellectual concept than a reality.

So if our body is not planted so that we have roots, then what is? Perhaps it is the soul which is planted in something. Perhaps our essence is more like a plant than an animal. Like a plant, it can thrive when rooted in good soil or wither and die if rooted in poor.

One of my Bibles notates that the word “rooted” here is a “perfect passive participle.” The further notation of what that means is that the action is passive in that it happens to the person – it is not caused by the person. In other words, if I am rooted in Christ it is not because I rooted myself; I was rooted by another and it happened to me. This is certainly consistent with our understanding that it is God who, in His divine wisdom, raises us from our dead state in sin into eternal life in Jesus Christ. When we are rooted in Jesus Christ, it is by the sovereign action of God which roots us in good soil. The “perfect” parts means that the action has occurred but has continuing action or results. In others, I was rooted with continuing “rootedness.” The past has continuing action in the present.

So where does this take us today? Perhaps nowhere but this simple reality. If Christ is our Savior, we are rooted in Him. If we are rooted in Christ, we need add nothing, we are stable, and we have the source for what we need for life. If we are rooted in Christ, we have a storehouse from which to draw strength in time of need. Thank you, Jesus, for rooting us in You.

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