In my life before children, I was an avid gardener. My grandmother instilled in me a love of fresh cut flowers from the garden arranged in vases throughout the house, and an appreciation for the flavor of garden-fresh vegetables on the plate. I have fond memories of walking through her large gardens as a child, when the sunflowers towered over and shaded me. Once Russell and I had our first home, I learned just how much work it was to create amazing gardens like my grandmother’s! It was hard work to break up and convert the Maryland clay to fertile soil, and it took trial and error to figure out which flower and food species to plant where for successful cultivation. And, of course, there were the bugs to keep at bay – not nearly the challenge of Florida bugs, mind you. But, by far, the trickiest part of keeping my flower and vegetable gardens healthy and productive was keeping the weeds in check. Oh, my! There are SO many kinds of weeds, they each have their season, and they never tire in their attempts to take over the rich soil for themselves. I became adept at the best methods for removing weeds, largely based upon their root structure. For shallow-rooted weeds I could use my trowel, and only needed to turn over the top layer of soil to quickly get rid of them. For dandelions, I needed to dig down at least six inches to get a significant portion of the taproot, or these persistent buggers would simply pop up again in short order. Vines have their own trickiness, especially those with rhizomes. It took longer to track down their many roots spread throughout my garden. Sneaky, sneaky vines. Fast forward about 15 years, and Russell and I were attacking some Virginia Creeper in our yard here in Florida. For over a year we had been snipping this vine back above ground, and it would appear that we had cleared the vine only to have it crop right back up again – within days! One day, Russell was fed up with the vine and really went to town and dug down deeper and wider throughout our front yard, eventually uncovering and removing a root structure that was over 20 feet long, and in places, as thick as my wrists! Now THAT’S rooted! So well rooted, in fact, that over a year later, despite removing so much of the root, I STILL see some sprigs of Virginia Creeper popping up in our front yard… Can you imagine being that well rooted? So well rooted, that someone’s “snips” at you, their careless or hurtful words, don’t impact you much? So well rooted that you can respond to others with compassion, even when they are unpleasant, because you can clearly see the hurt beneath their unpleasantness? So well rooted that difficult circumstances or disappointments don’t damage your core; can’t remove your roots? So well rooted that you know exactly who you are, in all of your strengths and frailties, so you know what makes you grow well and what “rots” you? So well rooted that you can plainly sort your selfish motivations from your altruistic ones? So incredibly rooted that you could endure a devastating loss and still have love and hope? Imagine! If we at St. Andrew’s were all so well rooted, what could God do through us as a community? The Apostle Paul understood the importance of rootedness to the early church. He shared wisdom on becoming rooted in a divine relationship that impacts others. How do we become well rooted today? Join us on Sunday to learn more in our series: I Am SAUMC. I look forward to seeing you and engaging in worship together, to become ever more rooted in the marvelous love of God.