January 20, 2022
Susan Classen, a Mennonite health worker in El Salvador reported to her congregation during a visit home. She displayed a beautifully embroidered banner showing shoots sprouting from a stump. The Spanish words on the banner read, “They yanked off our fruit. They cut off our branches. They burned our trunk. But they couldn’t destroy our roots.” After explaining the phrases, she said, “Roots grow deeper with persecution and suffering.” She had witnessed how the poor – as is always true – were the losers in the war.
Beloved, amidst these days of the lingering pandemic, too many deaths, and cold icy days, please touch the roots of your faith. The source of your spiritual life is deeper than the surface. Trace the power of your spiritual power and you will find a strong and expanding root system out of sight. Feed the roots of your faith. Like the trees and shrubs and flowers during this winter, remember that your life in God is rooted in God’s life in you. Your roots and the soil God created are so intertwined they cannot be separated. Just as plants grow stronger during winter to flourish in the spring and summer, you too can grow stronger in your spirit during a season such as this. Your strength is in God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ.
Recall the words written to the Church in Rome:
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword (or a pandemic, or a cold winter)? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8)