9. Shoot

The shoot is the “in between” of the flowering plant. It connects the roots to the bloom. Or, it is the physical, observable connection between the (hidden) roots and resulting bloom.

Now, there is something curious about the shoot. It would seem the shoot’s main function is threefold: to support the flower, to move nutrients from point A to point B, and to house various complex functions of the plant. Support comes in the form of turgid cells bundled together into vascular tissue. Nutrient transport includes the move of water and minerals, essentials for good life, from the root to the plant cells. And, complex functions of the plant include cellular respiration, breakdown of nutrients, and the removal of waste.

The “curious” bit is the seeming parallel between nature and spiritual life. The shoot is the human soul, which serves as an “in between” for the spirit and the body. Everything in the physical, observable realm is the manifestation of what preceded it in the spirit. By this logic, the spirit realm is the root while the bloom is the physical manifestation or the body. Thus

root : bloomasspirit : body

Some impediment to the connection between the shoot and its roots results in an errant bloom—whether it is observable in its errancy with the naked eye or whether the errancy resides in the unobserved interior (or heart). In any case, a beautiful bloom is simply an external view of what may be happening within the vascular tissue. The actual health of the plant is more easily seen in specific environmental contexts.

For example, when digging into the soil to transplant a particular flower, do you find the roots intertwined with weeds that may interfere with its movement? Or dos the flower quickly whither when placed in harsh conditions (for a short period of time)? Or how does the plant cope in the wilderness?

The prophet Isaiah said

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them,
And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.”

In a way, this verse is speaking of the shoot. Plants grow to great heights in the wilderness. The desert is a wilderness of sorts except the main impediment is not lack of protection but lack of water. Yet still

“[…] the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice […].”

In other words, the resulting (abundant!) bloom is the consequence of good nourishment while in the desert. God’s word says the beauty of nature is evidence of God’s glory. Then let us be glorious in His love.