Jeremiah 17:5-10 (NRSV)
Verse 5Thus says the Lord: Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord. Verse 6They shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when relief comes. They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Verse 7Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. Verse 8They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. Verse 9The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse who can understand it? Verse 10I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.
Here in Iowa, roots are important. Our endless fields of corn and soybeans are anchored by complex root systems. Without roots, the winds of summer would blow away the crops. Roots help the plants receive essential water and nutrients. Insects, which threaten root systems, are an enemy to many farmers. Healthy roots are among the many factors that can determine the bounty of the harvest.
Faith, the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, is our root system and anchor. The prophet Jeremiah compares one whose trust is in the Lord to a great tree whose roots have constant access to life-giving water. Perhaps the busyness and stress of life are like drought, leaving our lives parched. God promises in the waters of baptism that we are adopted into God's family as beloved children. The whole of our life rests firmly rooted in God's mercy, grace, and love. Blessed are we when we trust in God, our source of all life.
Merciful God, sometimes it's easier to trust in mere mortals. Sometimes it's easier to trust our fears. Root us in faith to trust in your promise. Help us to trust that you have claimed us as your children and forever hold us in your love. Amen.