Yesterday’s devotion in our congregation’s Advent series had this paper cut art by Hannah Garrity entitled Spark of Divinity (Inset in image). It is a beautiful piece with a great depth of meaning to it tied to Mark 13. But what really caught my eye were the roots. I loved how in the piece the roots are exposed reaching out to the stars that have fallen. As I took in this piece, I thought of a tree that I have walked by so many times that is rooted right at the edge of a small gorge and how it continues to stay strong even though it seems so very precarious. We don’t often see the roots of a tree (and there are far deeper roots for this tree than can be seen here) but we see the ways that they provide for the health and strength of the tree.
Rooted-ness is speaking to me today. As we enter the last month of 2020, I think of how un-rooted this year has felt. So much has had to change and keeps changing this year. At times, with all the changing, life has felt unrooted, like we are that tree over the gorge and feeling like we are slowly slipping further and further.
But what keeps coming to me here is how much deeper the roots go. We see some, but the full extent of the rootedness is far deeper and wider. I recently read a book about trees called Lab Girl, written by Dr Hope Jahren. Here’s what she says about tree roots…
If a root finds what it needs, it bulks into a taproot—an anchor that can swell and split bedrock, and move gallons of water daily for years, much more efficiently than any mechanical pump yet invented by man. The taproot sends out lateral roots that intertwine with those of the plant next to it, capable of signaling danger, similar to the way that information passes between neurons via their synapses. The surface area of this root system is easily one hundred times greater than that of all the leaves put together. Tear apart everything aboveground—everything—and most plants can still grow rebelliously back from just one intact root. More than once. More than twice.Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren
We are stronger than we know. We are connected to one another in ways that are obvious and in many more that are not so evident. As a Christian, I hold to the words of Jesus that we are never alone and that we have a strength and a hope far deeper than what may appear on the surface.