Here in Colorado, we have a beautiful tree species called Aspen trees. They have a white trunk, green leaves that turn yellow in the Fall, and purple, hairy, wooly-worm looking flowers in the Spring. But what makes Aspen trees really unique, is the fact that they grow in large colonies. If you walk into an Aspen forest, you would think that you are looking at a bunch of different trees. But behind the scenes, or better yet under the ground, families of Aspen trees are connected to the same roots. According to Wikipedia, a new tree can grow up to 130ft away from the parent tree.
The other day, I was reading a certain passage of Colossians where it says,
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (2:6)
That phrase, “rooted and built up” reminded me of another passage in a different book:
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
In the past, I have read these verses and pictured a normal tree–a tree that is grounded in a good root ball from which it gets both nourishment, and its sense of strength. Every day, the tree receives its life from the roots, and when a storm comes, the “rooted” tree holds firm. In the same way, we are to be rooted in Christ from whom we get both nourishment and perseverance. He is the source of our life and the source of our strength.
I still think that’s true, but I also think that the Aspen tree is a better picture of what is really going on below ground. If you walk into a room of Christians–just like when you walk into an Aspen grove–it looks like a group of individuals. They look different. Smell different. Talk different. Have different looking kids. Struggle with different things. In many ways, the group looks and acts like a bunch of individual people. But below ground, everyone in that group is connected. Not only are we all rooted in the same root system which is Christ, but we are also grafted together as the same tree. We may look like a group of individuals, but really we are a colony–a community of believers who’s health and wellbeing depend not only on Jesus, but also on each other.
Why do you think God designed us to live in community? Comment below and continue the discussion…
*Photo borrowed from: http://en.wikipedia.org/