Voices of Faith: Spreading the Word

The largest organism on earth stretches more than 100 acres and lives in Utah. It has a name, “Pando” (that is Latin for “I Spread”) and is a tree.

Actually, it is a forest composed of a single tree. It is a quaking aspen and each tree in the forest is a clone of the original “mother” tree and each tree after that is not only genetically linked it is also shares a single root system.

As far as science is concerned, it is one complete organism. Because of the way the trees are linked, they share everything from food and water right down to the energy produced from photosynthesis. The individual trees only live to be about 150 years, so the original mother tree has long since passed away, but the clones have been carrying on for centuries.

In I Corinthians 12:27 Paul writes this: “You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” He later writes to the Ephesians: “There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:4-6) When we read this in light of Pando, it is easy to see the parallel.

Pando is so interconnected that when one tree is damaged it affects the whole forest. Scientists have even speculated that if one tree were infected with a disease it would quickly spread to the entire forest.

Paul continues with the body analogy to the Corinthians when he says; “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

As Christians we are connected by a common root system and we are part of one body, the body of Christ. The Apostle Paul explains that while each of us may fill different roles in the complete body one part cannot turn to another and say it is not needed. We are called to be like Christ. This connectedness and Christlikeness are integral parts of true Christianity. We were not called to live in isolation but in community, that is where we flourish and thrive.

One of the problems in our church culture today is that we often are too focused on what our individual church is doing and we have inoculated ourselves from the larger body. Seeing the Christians in other parts of the world being persecuted should affect us, so to should those in our neighborhood touch us when they struggle. If we, the churches in America, would spend less time looking at the things that divide us and take a step back and look at who is really behind the division we would accomplish so much more. The hungry would be fed, the poor would be cared for and empowered to rise up, the hurting would be helped and the nation as a whole would be stronger for it.

This week spend some time in reading Ephesians and I Corinthians and see what Paul had to say. The same thing that allowed Pando to grow so large in Utah is what has allowed Christianity to be what it is today. Stand firm in the truth of God’s word and seek opportunities to plant seeds.

Pastor Al Weeks, an author, teacher and preacher, is serving in First Baptist Church of Kenai. The folks at FBCK are a warm family of believers committed to speaking the truth in love. Join them Sunday mornings at 10:45 a.m.

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