‘Roots’ has so many meanings – family history, the place where you grew up, the community you are in now, or the culture you were once part of – which might not be the same as your current beliefs and lifestyle.
Can you ever really go back to your roots? Your childhood friends have moved on, your parents will pass away, your home town looks small, and your own ideas about life develop while the whole the world keeps changing. Even if you had some roots once, you can’t ever really find them again.
We are all lost in the universe and the universe doesn’t care. That’s existential angst for you. Alice Moreton is singing about the way we all want those roots, and our sadness at not having them. But I think she has the answer too.
There are many stories in the Bible of people who left home, migrated, sometimes as refugees or captives. The collective yearnings (spread over centuries) are summarised in this passage, Hebrews 11.13-16 where the writer says people “agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth … but they were looking forward to a better home in heaven”.
I’ve got no roots, but my home was never on the ground
Well here’s a bonus for you. The best live recording I could find of Joni Mitchell singing Big Yellow Taxi includes her performing ‘Both Sides Now‘ which is also great song and a moving reflection on life.
I promised my sister that I would post this next, as I already had it queued up in the light of recent climate change protests and the growing realisation of the seriousness of the ecological disaster we are facing.
The Bible doesn’t really speak directly much about ecological issues. At that time in history people were more concerned with staying alive in the face of conflict and persecution, starvation, childbirth and disease. Some Christians now point to Bible promises about a cosmic ‘end of times’ with a new heavens and a new earth as evidence that God will make it all good in the end and we don’t need to care for the environment. In my view that is (being charitable) a naive or (at worst) a mischievous reading of the scriptures. As usual, people write whole books about this so read for yourself one of the key Bible passages – the story of creation in Genesis chapter 1.
God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good!