All who believed were together and had all things in common. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts. —Acts 2.44, 46
It is fascinating how little things remind us of home. I grew up in Colorado and spent the better part of one summer spreading river rock around my parent’s house. I thought it was nice back then (mainly because I was being mildly compensated), but even today I find beauty in it.
Landscaping river rock are usually a mix of a few colors, but they are for the most part cool colors like the powder blue of a creek fed by snow melt. Every once in a while there is a red or an orange rock mixed in, and the diversity is delightful. But let’s be honest: we’re just talking about landscaping stones.
The other part of nature that reminds me of home is the Aspen tree. Aspens are breathtaking Each tree can grow up 100 feet tall, and as you hike through the Rockies you’ll find groves of trees where every tree is 50-70’ tall.
Aspens grow in very close proximity to one another and they don’t reproduce through seeds. The trees are interconnected beneath the soil. When you hike through an Aspen grove it’s fascinating to realize each tree in the grove has a relationship with every other tree. If one tree gets sick the others sacrifice to send it nutrients. The trees by the stream naturally have access to more water, but they send it to the trees that get less.
If there is a forest fire, and all the trees are burned to the ground, the Aspen is usually the first to regrow. The root system is deep enough to stay below the heat of the flame and it survives and sprouts new trees.
River rock has a quaint diversity, but there is no meaningful connection — nothing held in common. The church is supposed to be like an aspen grove.
In real community those of us planted by the water should sacrifice for those who are weary from the heat of the day. Those who are enriched should sacrifice for those in hardship. And when we burn in the injustice and brokenness of this world we should draw deeply from the root of Christ — who brings the healing of regrowth and the hope of restoration.