Rooted In God, May 18.2012

Psalm 1:3 
They are like trees 
planted by streams of water, 
which yield their fruit in its season, 
and their leaves do not wither. 
In all that they do, they prosper.
Since preaching about it last week the idea of abiding in God has stayed with me as I’ve turned my attention to the texts for this week. The Psalmist offers a beautiful image of what it means to abide in God. Describing those who plant themselves in the stories, words and laws of God as trees that are planted by a stream of water. I imagine these trees on the banks of a gentle stream growing thick and green towards the rising sun.

Earlier in the Psalm the writer encourages the listeners to ignore advice that is mean-spirited and selfish, to move towards God and not away from God and not to build one another up rather than using words to shame, bully or mock one another. The Psalmist often creates the dichotomies in which the good, the bad and the ugly are so easily discerned from one another. If I read it too quickly I might think the Psalmist is saying that some folks are good and some are not. But it’s more complex than that isn’t it? And it’s too easy to draw big thick lines between who we imagine as good and who we imagine is wicked. When in truth many of us have discovered that all of these parts — the good, the bad and the ugly — exist in our own hearts and minds.

There are times the voice of truth and love, of compassion and humility speaks loudly in my head and heart. But there are other times that voice is clouded or competing with voices responding to hurt feelings, disappointment and judgment. I imagine God’s stream of compassion running through my heart, pumping love and life and light into it so that it will grow strong and lean in towards that light, towards God. The beauty of a stream is in it’s invitational nature. It doesn’t overwhelm like the ocean, it flows at an even pace, calm and cool. It reflects the softness and beauty of it’s surroundings and functions as a life source for those who would root themselves nearby, for those who would swim, bath or drink from it.

May you abide in the cool waters of God’s compassion,
May you find yourself rooted in the words of God,
May you lean in towards the light growing stronger,
May your experience of God let you face your fears and brokenness with honesty
so that you move towards a wholeness grounded in Christ.