This week I have spent some time surrounded by the majestic beauty of aspens. Each is an amazing specimen on its own. The work of an artisan—all those unblinking charcoal eyes sketched on bleached bark. If you’ve ever been up close to these unique trees, you know the beauty I speak of.
But my favorite thing about aspens is the way they were designed.
A stand of aspens, as they are called, is a kind of colony, all living off a single root system. All those trees I’ve been surrounded by are connected to one another. They are functioning as one organism—distinct trees of varying ages and sizes but still united because of their shared roots.
The connectedness in a stand of aspens leads to both sturdiness and sensitivity.
From what I’ve been told, an aspen planted alone tends to struggle. Alone, it is more susceptible to disease, drastic weather changes, the stress of living in this world. But together, they share nutrients, they protect the vulnerable, they absorb and fight off stressors.
Their surviving and thriving traces back to their design: the many living as one.
By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place.
The question I find myself asking is: what can we learn from this design?
What happens when a community collaborates, serves, encourages, forgives, listens, champions? When we see the many working and thriving as one, we better notice the genius of God.
We were designed for community. We need one another. Our connection to one another is not just how we survive in this world. It is how we will prevail. It is how we will glorify and honor Jesus. This is our calling.
It is the most powerful thing we can do in this world, to love as we have been loved.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.