Rhizomes and Weeds

rhizome  Paul uses images of the natural world as the deepest grounding for the spiritual life we experience as the transformation of our invisible selves in Christ. He says we are divinity, sacred beings, invisible, like the deepest rhizomes in the garden, in the visible world.
Christ lives in our hearts through faith. In this faith we are planted in the love of Christ. So that this love is planted deep within us, covered by the protection of the fertile soil, the earth in which we are rooted, like the rhizome making its gnarly way underground, bringing to light the beautiful flowering irises. He also says that our bodies become the fertilizer for our lives of faith. He is talking about the decay of the body as the death of immoral behavior (of the flesh). The rhizomes I see working as that faith which is born from the imagination. Like the creation of the world out of darkness. Where only the water, without which nothing can live, existed and over which hovered the breath of the Creator. The Creator ready to pour his love out to make a garden, a garden that would someday be the ground out of which the Word would become flesh again, seen as an obliquely described spiritual body. Christ Jesus as our root and rhizome.
Like these clear summer nights, when the stars are blinking overhead, faith as imagination is not just our reaching for the stars, but our deepest longings digging into the often rocky soil for the rhizome of ourselves. It seems that the more we look and learn from the natural world, the better we are able to see ourselves, our souls, imaged there. From this faith filled imagination something emerges out of the heart’s inklings and intuitions that tells us there is a force in the world, pushing, pulling the roots to its surface we experience now as drenched with the sacred. It is this sensibility like the pull of the sun and stars where we experience the roots of our humanness, the seed bed of image and likeness, our true selves as the Christ-self.
Then there are the weeds. The perennial flowers have all bloomed and vanished from my garden. The annuals are thriving since we are experiencing an unusually cool summer. These cooler summer night cause my impatiens sully forth in full force and bloom. But now that I don’t have any cut flowers in the garden, except to water, I wouldn’t be out in it as much, if it weren’t for the weeds.
The rhizomes are only half the story. So what I realize is that in spite of the fact that the garden comes with weeds, it is the weeds now that keep me close to the garden. The weeds in my garden make me more tolerant of the weeds in my soul. I will never be perfect. There will always be some weed or other. For just like my garden where it becomes futile to think there will be no weeds, my soul is always going to have some weeds growing there as well.
I think that is why St. Paul begins many of his letters calling out the negative behavior of his followers, weeding out behavior that is unbecoming to the faithful, so that he can go on to address the more important matters of planting the gardens of our spiritual lives where the ground has been (more or less) cleared so that the love of Christ might take root and bloom. Even the difficulties Paul faces, and we know face us as well, make for the transformation of self-centeredness into other-centeredness. Our weeds and wobbles grow compassion. A compassion grown from a deeper self-understanding and thereby ours for others as well. So those weeds are what makes me think about how to make room for something better, truer, perhaps more beautiful. To keep working in the ever-changing garden. To open a wider path for Christ to walk into the garden of my soul.


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