A sense of belonging is essential. Even for our “I Did It My Way” culture, almost all of us need to have a feeling of connection with others, that we’re not out in life all alone. More than that, most of us need to know that we come from somewhere, that our personal history has a story. In other words, that we have roots.
One sign of the importance of roots is the television show Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He tracks celebrities’ ancestors, the good and the bad, and presents people with their specific legacy. In the highlight previews, the recipients have been grateful for their knowledge, feeling rooted in a family heritage.
Awareness of our roots often leads to gratitude, which naturally leads to giving. A great example is Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who spent a month in Puerto Rico every summer of his childhood, in the town where his father grew up. After Hurricane Maria tore through the island last year, Miranda helped raise $43 million for relief. He also took the lead role in Hamilton when it came to San Juan, Puerto Rico, this month.
In the letter to the Ephesians (3:16-20), Paul compares the Christians in Ephesus to a tree that is being “strengthened in [its] inner being with power through [God’s] Spirit.” He prays that they “may dwell in [their] hearts through faith, as [they] are being rooted and grounded in love.”
Finally, Paul says, it is Christ’s love for us that makes us aware of God’s fullness in our lives. When we let our roots dig deep into Christ’s love for us, we go far deeper than any human ancestry, meeting our ultimate human need – connecting to the ground of our being, in God.
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