The Aspens

Ephesians 3:14-18 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (NIV)

The goats love to chew the bark of the aspen trees in the corral. And when they do, the tree dies. I then have to either cut the tree down or for the smaller trees pull them out of the ground which I have discovered is not an easy thing to do. And even then more aspen shoots continue to spring up. Not long ago I discovered, when I read some of what Wikipedia has to say about aspens, why pulling them out is so difficult and why they still keep growing.

Aspens are aided by the rhizomatic nature of their root systems. Most aspens grow in large clonal colonies, derived from a single seedling, and spread by means of root suckers; new stems in the colony may appear at up to 30-40 m (98-131 ft) from the parent tree. Each individual tree can live for 40-150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony is long-lived. In some cases, this is for thousands of years, sending up new trunks as the older trunks die off above ground. For this reason, it is considered to be an indicator of ancient woodlands. One such colony in Utah, given the nickname of "Pando", is estimated to be 80,000 years old. Some aspen colonies become very large with time, spreading about 1 m (3.3 ft) per year, eventually covering many hectares. They are able to survive forest fires, because the roots are below the heat of the fire, and new sprouts appear after the fire burns out.

How marvelous is this Creator God of ours. And what a great analogy the aspen tree root system is for the Church of Jesus Christ. Through Christ, as the apostle Paul states, we are rooted and established in love that we may have power, together with all the saints.....in other words the Church. The Church of Jesus Christ is rooted and joined together in Him. And though, at this time in history the fires of division, discord, fighting and apathy have separated Her in a way that has never before been experienced, She is still the Church rooted and established in Him. We cannot get away from this fact no matter how hard we try. We are joined together through His love whether we wish to acknowledge one another or not.

What an awesome and inspiring truth: a truth that will enable Her to survive the heat of our foolishness and still allow new sprouts of God's love to appear after this phase in history burns itself out. Whether that will be when our Lord, Himself, reappears to take His people home, or whether the Holy Spirit will pour out revival upon the hearts of His people before the end of time. The Church is one, and will remain one, rooted and established in Jesus Christ forever and ever.

So let us not be discouraged by Her many divisions. Rather, rooted and established in Christ, may we draw upon the power of His love, more and more as we each continue to seek to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is His love, that in turn we may have the wisdom and courage to grasp the hands of our brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide in His unity that truly makes us One.

Prayer: Father God, thank You that as Christians, no matter what our differences may be we are rooted and established as one is Christ Jesus. Speak to our hearts and minds; pour out Your Spirit anew upon us O God that indeed our oneness may be visible to the world through our love for one another. In Christ's name we pray. Amen

Lynne Phipps Atlin, B.C.

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