Antoinette and I just returned from a weeklong trip by car, from Anaheim to San Francisco, along the scenic highway. Some sights were awesome and it made us home sick for South
Africa as we recalled a similar trip with the kids along one of the most beautiful coast lines in the world, winding from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, better known as the Garden Route. Apart from sleeping over at several coastal towns, traveling over both the Bay and Golden Gate bridges, visiting the Fisherman's Wharf, China Town, the famous crooked Lombard street, Napa and Sonoma valleys, we also walked a more than two hour trail in the Muir Redwood Forest. I saw how the roots are all intertwined as if they were holding on to each other. I saw a younger tree that has fallen over, but is kept upright by a stronger one. Unfortunately, I also saw several tall giants that have totally collapsed, withered and died. Wow, what an experience that was! I learned some interesting facts about the Redwood trees that reminded me of the church, the body of Christ.
John Steinbeck wrote about the redwood, "The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It's not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time." I learned that the roots of a tree serve to anchor it to the ground and gather water and nutrients to transfer to all parts of the tree, and for reproduction defense, survival, energy storage and many other purposes. You would think that a 350-foot-tall tree would need deep roots, but that's not the case at all with the Redwood tree roots, which are very shallow, often only five or six feet deep. But they make up for it in width, sometimes extending up to 100 feet from the trunk. They thrive in thick groves, where the roots can intertwine and even fuse together. This gives them tremendous strength and support against the forces of nature. This way they can withstand high winds and raging floods. What a picture this is of the church!
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:25-27:
"But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."
To grow strong and tall in the faith, we need each other, just like these trees. Let us intertwine and even fuse together. Let us hold on and support each other and if one seems to be falling over, let us stand firm to lend support. Let’s root even deeper in Christ because no matter how tall you are today, without the strength and support of others, you might just fall over!
Author: Pastor Phillip, Grace Bible Church, Anaheim