ADVENT REFLECTION DAY 20
19th of December
Root of Jesse
You have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
When we look around our world today we see so much ‘uprootedness’, so many people having to flee their homes and even their countries in search of safety. According to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), there were 16.7 million refugees world wide at the end of 2013. Developing countries host over 86% of the world’s refugees, compared to 70% ten years ago. Last year, 50% of refugees were under 18 years old.
In the face of such huge numbers of suffering people we can easily ignore or treat as trivial our own feelings of uprootedness, of not feeling at home in our rapidly changing society and even within ourselves,
But surely Isaiah’s prophecy is for each one of us:
So where can we find the rootedness we all need especially when the storms of life threaten to overwhelm us and we can feel we are barely clinging on?
Isaiah had prophesied, ‘A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom’. God in Christ is the root of all goodness, wherever it is found, in whatever culture, or with whatever names we give to its fruits and flowers. Which reminds me of the words of one of my favourite carols:
‘A noble flower of Juda
from tender roots has sprung, A rose from stem of Jesse,
as prophets long had sung.
A blossom fair and bright,
That in the midst of winter
will change to dawn our night.
(A paraphrased adaption of a 15th Century Marian Hymn)
Mary was certainly grounded, rooted in the ways of God and so could bring Christ into the world, the One who showed us that God’s Heart is the place where we will always be at home.
Our hearts more and more urgently cry out for God's reign to extend over all humanity: "Come, save us, and do not delay".
My Celtic roots have certainly kept me grounded!!
All of us sprung from one deep-hidden seed,
Rose from a root invisible to all.
We knew the virtues once of every weed,
But, severed from the roots of ritual,
We surf the surface of a wide-screen world
And find no virtue in the virtual.
We shrivel on the edges of a wood
Whose heart we once inhabited in love,
Now we have need of you, forgotten Root
The stock and stem of every living thing
Whom once we worshiped in the sacred grove,
For now is winter, now is withering
Unless we let you root us deep within,
Under the ground of being, graft us in.
So who is this Celtic woman, who is rooted in more than one culture, lived her life in several and fell in love with them all? Is she my friend or fiend?