We’re a Lot Like Aspen Trees: A Vision Sunday Preview
PASTOR DUSTIN HITE
Several summers ago, I was able to travel to Vail, CO. In the winter, it’s one of the most popular skiing destinations, but in the summer, it’s a beautiful place to hike through the forest. I was able to hike through a breathtaking aspen forest when I was in Vail. While I was there, I learned that aspen trees aren’t stand-alone trees but are inter-connected stems/trunks that share the exact same root system. What starts as a single seed can spread into a massive cluster with thousands of shoots off the same roots. What looks like many stand-alone trees is actually a family of stems connected underground.
This is an aspen forest in Utah called Pando (which means “I spread”) and is said to be the largest living organism by weight, exceeding giant sequoias and the blue whale by a long shot. It spans over 106 acres and has over 47,000 stems (trees). This particular colony of aspens is thousands of years old and has survived countless challenges: climate changes, droughts, even forest fires. Each tree trunk only lives about 130 years, but the source of its stability is its interconnected root system that lies below the surface.
The reason I thought of aspens this week is because I think we’re a lot like this aspen forest. As a church, we could learn something from observing Pando. On the surface, it would seem like we’re all out there on our own, facing unique threats and having personal journeys…individual trees that happen to be in the same place. But there are obvious and mysterious ways that we’re connected to each other. We’re all made in God’s image, with God’s fingerprints on our innermost beings. We’re also a part of this body, this church we call home. We all play a vital role in this church, and I don’t think we’re here, together, by accident. Finally, I believe it's our interconnectedness that brings us stability. It’s the stuff below the surface that holds us together and gets us through the rough seasons of life.
I hope when you walk these halls you don’t just see that person who plays the drums, or that family of five that sits up front, or that guy who sits out in the lounge before service, or that woman who always shares good thoughts during Josh’s scripture discussion. I hope you get to know them and their story, which is part of our collective story. I hope you feel like you’re meaningfully connected to something bigger, something beautiful.
It’s important that we really get to know each other deeply, hear one another’s stories, and share our own. So with that in mind, we invite you to join us for Vision Sunday, one of my favorite Sundays of the year. We’ll talk about what makes us, us. We’ll dream together about what our future could look like. We’ll celebrate what unites and drives us. We hope you can be a part.
Dustin is our weirdest co-pastor, but we’ve gotten used to him. He really enjoys talking with people and hearing what makes them tick. He also loves playing games with his two girls and making Christina laugh.