Deeply rooted in Christ
How can the tender plant “soul” grow and thrive? By putting down roots, absorbing nutrients, and through healthy growth. Decisive hereby is good soil. Instructions from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2: 6–7). This was the Bible text Chief Apostle Schneider used in a divine service in Chicago, Illinois (USA) on 11 June 2017.
“We are rooted in Jesus. Everything comes from Him,” Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider made clear right at the beginning. “He has granted us the grace to be a child of God: He called us. He also made it possible for us to recognise the Son of the living God in Him.”
“That not only makes us humble, but it also gives us security,” he said. “After all, we know that Jesus does not make any mistakes. So we can be absolutely sure that we will make it, because He has called us.”
From nutrients to fruit
Plants absorb nutrients through their roots. “We need the word of God. We need Holy Communion.” But, the Chief Apostle said, the plant also has to convert the nutrients so that it can grow. Word and sacrament are not convenience products, the Chief Apostle said. “We have to work with them. We have to digest them. We have to think about them. That is our task.”
In order to be able to absorb the nutrients it is important that we are rooted in Jesus. “It is very important that our relationship to Jesus is not dependent on the quality of our relationship with His servants. Even if there is something wrong in our relationship to our Priest, our Apostle, or our Bishop, our relationship to Jesus must be preserved.”
The flavour of fruit depends on the composition of the soil in which it grows, the Chief Apostle explained, illustrating this with an example from viticulture. If obedience and the spirit of sacrifice were to be forced upon us or emerge as a result of fear, the taste would be bitter. “Let us be rooted in Jesus Christ. Then we can bear fruits, and these fruits have a wonderful taste, namely love.”
Roots serve to support and anchor a plant. Sure, we experience storms in our lives, the Chief Apostle said. But those who are deeply rooted will not be uprooted. Trust in Jesus and hope in eternal fellowship are such strong roots. “He is faithful. He will fulfill His promise,” he said. Even if we have to suffer, we know that it is worth it because that which we are going to receive from Jesus is so much greater than anything we have to bear today.
“Let us be deeply rooted in that which is truly our faith,” Chief Apostle Schneider continued. In spite of all the changes in our Church, the core, our creed, remains unchanged. It is still valid. “The Apostles have been sent to prepare the bride of Christ,” he confirmed.
“It is also very important that we are firmly rooted in our congregation.” This community is not just some nice club. We are united through the love of Jesus Christ, and this is much stronger than the mistakes that are made, the Chief Apostle said.
Anyone who is firmly rooted can already today develop into a tree of life, Chief Apostle Schneider said with reference to Revelation 22. They can be a blessing for their neigbhour, for those who live with them and around them. “Then we can help them to find Jesus and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the same gift which we have received.”