It’s a deep yearning. We live in a rootless age. Families move with job transition. Students move with educational transition. Couples move with retirement transition. Rare are the neighborhoods that are really that. Houses just become stations of residence before the next move.
But the human heart was meant to live in connection. The human race was meant to live in oneness. We are all related to each other, even if just by common ancestry to our first parents. And the sense of rootlessness surfaces at odd moments. We long for the good old days, or for tradition, or for family lineage, or for just being tethered to something larger than our individual lives.
But tonight, I saw something even deeper than that. It is the longing for a spiritual heritage, a yearning for theological roots. One of my newest friends is a young man from a Jewish background who became a believer in Jesus. His wife has a similar story, and tonight at my church she presented those Jewish roots behind her Christian faith. It was no mere story-telling. It was also singing of the highest order. For she was a trained cantor in the Jewish synagogue. And it was emotive video footage, depicting stories of other Jews who have come to believe in the Messiah.
But what struck me most was a comment she made about one of the traditional Jewish prayers, the Kaddesh. She loves to say it not only because it was a foundation for the Lord’s Prayer but also because it dates from the Babylonian exile, some 2500 years ago. She pictures herself connected to believers down through the centuries who have said the same prayer.
There it is. Connection. We are not just a part of a bigger family lineage. We are not just a part of a bigger national tie. We are a part of the church, connected to believers of all ages, all backgrounds. But tonight it ran deeper. We are connected to God’s work through the Jewish people. After all, we Gentiles are the branch grafted into the tree, not the original tree itself.
This is the deepest connection of all, the deepest root of all. To feel a bit of this is the tonic for a rootless age. We are all a part of the Father’s redemptive work in the world–“that they may be one, even as we are one,” as Jesus himself said.