Ancient Wisdom: December 8, 2013 (Year A)

Read:  Isaiah 11:1-10

Meditation:  “Root and Branch”

In looking forward to the coming of Christ, Isaiah identified the two main ingredients in any religion.  It must have a root, and it must have a branch.

The root is the Source.  Jesus is our Source–the Word made flesh (John 1:14).  Practically, this means we dare not attempt to live the Christian life unless we are connected to him in a vital relationship (John 15:4).  We are Christians only because we are connected to Christ.

But equally ncessary is a branch.  The root’s purpose is negated without branches, which in this case means followers of Christ (Mark 1:16).  Practically, this means that we do not see ourselves primarily as members of the church, but as disciples of Jesus.

Advent gives us the time and space to ask ourselves two essential questions:  (1) Is Christ my Source, or is my faith more like that of a disconbected branch?…..and…..(2) Am I a branch through whom Christ can work?

If we embrace Isaiah’s words, we can emerge from Advent with just what we need to be the Christians God wants us to be–people with both root and branch united to bear fruit in the world.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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