A Place at the Table – 09 – Roots

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Beauty, Nature, Seay

God, we pray that You will use this journey to help us see the many things and people that compete for our affections. We are forever grateful that in the midst of sin, You died for us, that though we are broken and we continually fail You and one another, You love us. May that truth go far beyond our heads and into our hearts. May we accept and celebrate that love and in doing so be able to forgive others as You have forgiven us. May we see brothers and sisters in history who have followed You, like Job and know that You have called us to an equally sacred task. You call us out of slavery and oppression and devotion to an empire, and You call us into a new kingdom, a kingdom of abundance and beauty where everyone has enough, where forgiveness and love reign. May we enter those gates this day.

——

Seay hits on roots in this passage – the roots that we have in our relationships with others and with God. The prayer he lifts up here gets to the core of it – that our love needs to go beyond just the external but to the inner core of ourselves. He starts out the devotional thought with one of the most stunning and beautiful reflections on marriage that I have ever read. In the novel, Corelli’s Mandolin, one of the characters – Dr Iannis describes romantic love to his daughter in this way…

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love,” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.

Seay takes this and starts with seeing it in marriage and then moves it forward to our relationship with God. Both relationships must move towards a place of inter-twining and not just passion or feeing or momentary experiences, but instead coming to a place where you cannot possibly even be separated.

This is one of my favorite trees around here – its along a simple hiking trail that I often walk, but the tree is not immediately obvious. Its a wonderful tree in that its easily climbable, it is huge, and it is beautiful. What we cannot see, however, are the roots that go down so very deep into the ground and twist and turn and ground the tree. I would love to see what that looks like, but we cannot because to do so would probably damage the tree itself. So, we know that the roots are there because we see the evidence above.

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