ROOTS & WIND
There is a beautiful street close to my neighborhood. It is exceptionally beautiful during Indiana autumn and Indiana spring. In the spring, the beautiful, white, flowering trees that line the street are another reminder of why I love living in Indiana. When there is a breeze, the tiny flowers float across in the air and it’s just like a commercial, or Disney movie. However, after the kind of spring storm that Indiana is famous for our last little storm blast there are sometimes more than blossoms on on the road, there are branches. Sometimes, I can remember even seeing one of those pretty trees partially uprooted.
Those trees, a type of flowering pear, are beautiful, but fragile. The limbs are just strong enough to hold the blossoms, leaves, and not much else. And when I witnessed the tree that was partially uprooted, I clearly saw the root system was shallow, and the roots were not large.
For every Spiritual Truth there is a physical metaphor.
The obvious, “surface” lesson is one straight out of Jesus’ own words: when storms come, the tree falls over, if the roots aren’t deep. However, that lesson is only the first lesson. What is the deeper, different, a little off-kilter, lesson?
ROOTS are a picture, a lesson, to me. Roots are developed over time, through nurture. Roots happen when there is seed, good soil, sun and water. If WE were trees, roots would be what keep us “grounded” (literally) and are the ethics and values that we acquire over time. For the BELIEVER & FOLLOWER, roots are developed through the practice of the philosophy of Jesus. It is the part of the action of FOLLOWING, it is something WE do, something WE have control over.
The WIND. What if the wind, in MY metaphor, were not adversity but something Jesus Himself draws as a picture for Nicodemus: the Spirit. When Jesus speaks to Nic, in the evening, and drew a comparison of the Spirit to the wind/breeze in the trees I had to ask myself: would the Spirit blow through a person so hard that there would be danger of damage to that person? I think that the answer could be, “Yes”. the greatest force the universe knows (the Breath of God) could easily mangle a human as easily as a strong wind could tear limbs off a tree.
So the second question; DOES that happen? I think that there is a danger, if the Spirit were not beneficent. God’s Spirit, that leads us into all truth and comforts us, is not a mindless “thing” that haphazardly blows, though it may seem so to us. God’s Spirit knows what Jesus said to the woman in Samaria: “My Father is seeking worshipers who worship Him in SPIRIT AND TRUTH.” Some would say that TRUTH is what we choose to acquire as we seek to know God, and SPIRIT is the mystery and Truth we can’t control as it confronts us. We need both the KNOWLEDGE (which we can sometimes explain or work out) of Truth and the MYSTERY of Truth (which we cannot explain, but accept on faith).
I believe the deeper the roots the stronger the force of the Spirit. It’s only a hypothesis, and I obviously believe a part of the Spirit’s strength is evident in our weakness, but those who seek and work to nurture the deepening of their own roots (through the knowledge, seeking and following of Jesus) experience the ability to continually take on more and more of the power of the Spirit in direct proportion to the depth of their roots.
We need both, SPIRIT and TRUTH. One is not balanced without the other. The knowledge and passion to gain knowledge of God is what WE OFFER, the Spirit is what HE offers.
All of us in the orchard need both.