by Robert H. Spain

For the past 14 or 15 years, I have been building a personal dictionary from words I encountered that I did not know or words that had not taken root in my mental lexicon. Some words are probably there because the retrieval system has slowed. In any event, the discovery of new words or the shaking-off-the-dust of under-used words is a never ending quest toward my becoming a dilettantish lexicographer.


A recent addition to my ongoing vocabulary catalogue is the word scion. Before, I could read this word and by using context get the point of the narrative, but now I choose to open the shutters and look close. A scion is a descendant or heir, especially of a wealthy or prominent family. In the study of botany, however, a scion is a shoot or bud from a plant that is joined to a rootstock in grafting.


With this, the spillways opened with new thoughts. In looking forward to a new day, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1) Later, the apostle Paul used Isaiah’s thoughts as evidence for a new day for some considered outsiders. “There will be a root of Jesse, who will also rise to rule the Gentiles.”  (Romans 15:12)


Listen to Paul again, “All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters . . .if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ.”  (Selections from Romans 8:14-17)


We are now at the beginning of a new year. Facing a new calendar usually means taking stock of where we are and what we want to do. The word scion, however, is a word we need to hear and accept as we begin the new year. It reminds us of who we are. We are shoots grafted into Jesse’s tree and in Christ we have become a part of God’s eternal family.


I have not only uncovered a gone-astray word, I have been reminded that in Christ we have an ancestry that doesn’t need to be traced through any .com service. It is clear and straightforward. We are “God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ.”

We have a royal heritage. Let’s live like it.



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