I was doing a training hike the other day on Grandfather Mountain and stopped to take this picture. I love this part of the trail but this week I was particularly struck by the image of the roots so interwoven and interconnected with one another- so you can hardly tell which tree the roots belong to. On the heels of Annual Conference where we were reminded of our connectional system and our collective work as United Methodist churches in the western half of North Carolina in combination with this liminal time between serving Centenary and Boone UMC this part of the trail gave me pause. I was reflecting how the tree trunks represent our various churches and the roots represent the people who make up the church. A few hours later before I got down off the trail it started to rain and on my return trip the rain wetting the exposed roots reminded me of God’s love showering down on us all saturating us with the much needed Living Water. There was something very comforting with this image.
In a time where all aspects of our lives seem to be dividing and choosing sides this interconnected image serves as a powerful counter to current culture. And even when we feel a sense of disconnect with one another, this reminds us that our purpose and our work can only happen when we are interconnected with one another. We are so much stronger together supporting one another and growing deep with each other. To disconnect or tear apart a portion of the root system only weakens the tree’s foundation or our churches. And more importantly no one person or no one church stands in isolation. God sees our work as collective. We are more powerful impacting our communities together than any one church could ever be alone.
While my personal roots are feeling a bit dislodged at the moment (I’m up to my ears in bubble wrap and moving boxes!) there is great comfort in remembering that my root system is merely shifting a bit in the dirt that surrounds me and soon I will be intertwining with new people and growing deeper together supporting another part of God’s Kingdom.
And the roots keep growing and new connections are made. Somehow seeing things from that 30,000 level perspective makes it a bit easier to pack up and move. The journey continues. Just in new places and with new faces. The Kingdom work continues, just expands to new places with new faces. My personal experience only multiplies, in a new environment experiencing new adventures. But I remember the ways life intersected the past few years with great people, doing great Kingdom work teaching me powerful lessons along the way. And hopefully I shared a few helpful insights with others as well.
May the Living Water continue to shower down on us all, wherever our roots happen to be growing. May we continue to live interconnected lives appreciating the relationships we have around us in the moment. May we continue to selflessly support and care for one another so the whole root system may be blessed. May our roots grow ever deeper in a life richly filled with the love of Christ.
Grace and Peace,