It seems that so many polite conversations that would usually revolve around the weather are quickly going to quite open and honest conversations this year about the weather. For instance, friends of mine have had property ruined due to erosion of land and seepage of rainwater into their houses.
Typically the Bible portrays water and vegetation in a positive light. For instance, Psalm 1:3 reads, They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all they do, they prosper. Additionally, Jeremiah 17: 8 reads, They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. These similar Scripture texts immediately follow the result of trusting in the Lord.
My wife and I own a house in Tennessee that is built in the woods. There is some lawn, but it is not difficult to simply look around and find vegetation outnumbering the space dedicated to grass. While nursery-bought bushes are quite common, native trees significantly outnumber bushes. With the considerable amount of rain that we have been having over the past year, the low parts of the yard are beginning to show up in puddles. Those puddles in the relentless rain storms, quickly morph into marshes. Now will be the time for the trees to show what they are made of. What they are made of, you cannot even see. I am referring to their roots. If those roots do not run deep, those trees are going to start toppling over especially when more rain falls and the intensity of the wind picks up. The result will be destruction to both property and house.
How deep do your roots run? Have you already found out when some kind of storm came into your life? Where do seek shelter when the inevitable tragedy comes? I have had the priestly privilege of being with some of you in these times: when health wanes and hospitalization is required; when a family member or friend dies unexpectedly and the funeral is planned; when the school or career-related achievement you were counting on does not occur. These are just some painful, real-life illustrations that do begin to show how deep our roots run.
I have actually used the phrase that it is my priestly privilege to have been with you in your pain. It is so much of a spiritual issue at its core. And we discover how much we need one another at that time. And we also discover how much we need Jesus in that time. The truth is that we need one another, and we need Jesus all of the time.
It is still the spiritual season of Lent, which is an appropriate time to dig a little deeper to see how deep our roots go. The Big Red Doors are always open here. I know that I met Jesus here when I least expected to do so. I also continue to meet Jesus here through all of you. The sign out there at the intersection of 64 and Herbert Hills Drive has those two significant words on it - Welcomes You. Tragedy or not in your life, you are always welcome here.