Roots

This past Friday I went to the office of Stanley J. Miller, M.D., P.A. for some Mohs micrographic surgery on my left temple where a basal cell carcinoma had been identified. Dr. Miller said that this kind of skin cancer was not the kind that could spread to other parts of my body, but that it did have roots that could grow down below the surface of my skin and do damage to the muscle and bone tissue below. He removed the affected area, checked it under a microscope, pronounced that he had gotten all of the roots, then sewed me up.

I really didn't need another hole in my head. I tried to imagine what these roots looked like. I have done my share of uprooting trees and other plants in my lifetime, so I know what those kinds of roots look like, and I know how difficult it can be to completely remove them. I remember pulling up the roots to some sort of weedy plant only to discover that the roots had spread all throughout the yard and were connected to other weedy plants that needed to be dug up. It seemed as though I would have to dig up the entire back yard if I wanted to remove every last one of the roots and that the weeds would come back in force if I left even one of the roots intact. I was glad it was not my yard, but not so glad that what had seemed like a simple chore now presented itself as hours of backbreaking labor in the hot sun. Then I remembered some of the plants that had very shallow roots which, as a boy, I would pluck up and hurl like grenades in our neighborhood wars along with acorns, dirt bombs, pricker-burrs, and milkweed pods which exploded into clouds of white fuzz upon impact. I don't think my roots were anything like either of these. Maybe my basal cell roots were more like a carrot or dandelion, a tap root with little tertiary root hairs branching off it. Maybe I should have asked to see my roots.

Pastor Schaller spoke about having our roots in the proper place this Sunday. Our flesh is rooted in fear, guilt, and shame, but our new nature is rooted in grace.. We grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). Ephesians 3:17 says we are rooted and grounded in love, or, in other words, we are rooted and grounded in the character and nature of God, for God is love (1 John 4:8). Such roots! The deeper these roots go, the more we will grow up in Him, in Christ (Ephesians 4:15). Jesus calls himself the Root in Revelation 22. We are so very blessed as believers to have a Root that is eternal, a Root that nourishes us and causes us to flourish. As long as the Root is intact, the plant will grow, and there's no way our Root is going anywhere, so we have great security and stability in Him.

Another idea of roots is heritage. Roberta Martellucci sent me a copy of something Pastor Stevens wrote for one of the first (if not the first) yearbooks produced by our Christian school when it was just a seedling back in Scarborough, Maine in the mid-1970s. It was encouraging to read his philosophy of Christian education in a nutshell and to realize that our school's roots have not been moved. We still believe the same things we did thirty-five years ago. Such roots we have! Pastor Stevens is no longer with us, but the roots he helped establish are going strong. We are blessed people to have a school with roots deep in grace and truth. I suppose this makes me sort of a husbandman, a gentleman farmer, I hope, cultivating the soil alongside all of you, to produce fruit in the lives we touch in this ministry of Christian education.

Let's pray for green thumbs and deeper roots!

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