Winthrop Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
No matter who you are. No matter where you are on life's journey. You are welcome here.
Psalm 1 The Two Ways
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
What does it mean to be rooted in love? We’ve been talking about it together over the last month. We considered the second creation story in Genesis that reminds us of God’s care and provision for humanity. It shows us that humans are made for one another, to steward creation together, and to build community together. In that scripture, to be rooted in love is to be reminded that humans are a gift given by God to each other. Imagine what this world could be like if we lived like we were made for each other?
We have also considered the difficult demand of Mark 10, when the wealthy and devout man asked for guidance on how to more fully live out God’s commands. Jesus tells him that his hoarding of wealth is a barrier to his following God. In that moment, the man is too bereaved at the idea of losing his money to follow Jesus. We don’t know if he eventually does. In that story, to be rooted in love is to give up your excess so that others may have enough. To be rooted in love means that, if you want to follow Jesus, you won’t walk away from difficult demands. Imagine a world where that man could give away the wealth that was binding him. Imagine a world where each of us could give away the privilege that is binding us.
Our pastoral intern Sarah shared some of her faith journey, reminding us that God is both our refuge and our companion on the journey. For her, her spiritual roots, that is, her keen awareness that God provided protection and safety for her, helped her address self-doubt, self-criticism, and anxiety that challenged her. That is not unlike the testimony Jamie shared today, about how her relationship with Jesus is providing her with healing, and helping her cast out, in particular, a fear of rejection that has been a part of her life for a long time. Imagine a world where all people are as confident that they are as beloved as Sarah and Jamie are, now that they know they are beloved by God for exactly who they are.
And, last week, we heard a word from Jeremiah, who showed us a tender God who offers restoration to those who have been harmed. God will gather up those who have scattered. God will carry along those who would usually be left behind. Imagine a world where God has restored the wounded among us... where the ones who struggle most are considered first in the travel. In our scripture today, the Psalmist speaks of those who follow God’s law, meditating on God’s hope for the world, as being like trees plants by streams of water. Their roots are nourished, so their fruit is rich and their leaves are healthy. When we remember and nourish our roots with God, by living like we are made for each other, by giving up the privilege that prevents us from following Jesus, and tending to our relationship with God, we are like these trees planted by the water. The world you imagine... connected, beloved, just... is the fruit of the faith God is rooting in us at this very moment. May we be grateful for these roots and keep working with God to tend them.
Pastor Chrissy is a native of East Tennessee. She and her wife moved to Maine from Illinois. She is a graduate of the Divinity School at Wake Forest University and Chicago Theological Seminary.