I know I have said this more than a few times, but I love how I continue to hear new things in Scripture passages that I have read/heard many times before. In the New Testament daily readings, we are in Romans and today was the verses noted above. I was deeply struck by the words in these verses
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you.
This is in the context of Paul writing about the question of Israel and the Gentiles and how, in his view, all this works itself out so I may be taking these verses a bit out of context. But I don’t think I’m taking them too far out of context. I was so struck by the humility to which these verses call us – a humility of recognizing that its not us the branches that are important but the root of God – Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer – that sustains and supports us. A few verses later Paul says, “Do not become proud, but stand in awe” or as the NIV puts it, “Do not be arrogant, but tremble.”
I was deeply convicted by these words as well as comforted by them. I was convicted because of the many ways that I fall into the trap of thinking I have it all figured out but comforted by being reminded that its not all up to me but that I am one of many branches supported and fed by the same root of Christ.
The picture today is from a nature walk that I often go on that’s not too far from my home. I love how this tree just juts out over the creek and how you can see the ways that the roots spread out from the trunk. You can see the beginnings of how far out the root system of the tree grows and how strong it must be to support the way this tree has grown.
When I look at the church and the world today I am grateful that God has a root system far beyond what we can see. There are so many times that its easy to fall into an idea of how the “tree” is falling apart. But the good news is what Paul writes here – we are grafted into something far larger and more amazing and more beautiful than we can imagine.