EARTH: Community Matters by Francine Rivers

Reflections on How God Speaks Through Nature

Community Matters by Francine Rivers

From: Earth Psalms

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Our family lives in the “Redwood Empire” of northern California, within half an hour of Armstrong Woods and two hours from the Avenue of the Giants. I’ve always marveled when standing inside a grove of redwood trees. Though the trees tower hundreds of feet overhead, and some of these trees are so big you can link hands with ten people and still not encircle the base, these giants have a shallow root structure. A good wind would blow one over if it were standing alone like an oak tree on a hillside. But because the redwoods grow close together, the roots are interwoven, adding strength so that when the winds come and the rains pound and soak the soil, these trees stand and continue to grow – some for more than a thousand years.

This reminds me of my church family.  We come together to focus our hearts and minds on the Lord above, our light and our salvation.  As he teaches us, we encourage one another, we embrace in joy and in sorrow, we pray for each other, and we acknowledge our need for one another.  Alone we are weak and easily threatened by the winds of temptation and discouragement.  But as a community of believers, we can draw strength from one another for whatever storms may come, standing firm and continuing to grow in faith.

In Ecclesiastes 4, the wise king Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one.  Pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”  If just one another person can be a source of strength, how much more can a larger community be?  After all, the redwoods’ roots aren’t connected only to the trees on either side of them.  They extend up to one hundred feet from the base of the tree in every direction – far enough to connect with scores of other redwoods.  Next time you’re struggling and in need of encouragement, imagine yourself intertwined with believers all around you, held up by the combined strength of their roots.  That’s an image worth holding on to.

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love:
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear,
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

(Blest Be the Tie That Binds)

REFLECT

How are Christians entwined on a spiritual level even when they may not have much in common?  In what ways can believers help each other stand firm in Christ?

APPLY

This week, think of one person you can lean on because he or she is part of your community in Christ.  Think of someone else who is going through a hard time who might need your encouragement.

CONNECT WITH GOD

God, thank you for the community of believers of which I’m a part.  I’m thankful that when I feel shaken by the challenges in my life, I can rely on the other believers who are supporting me.  Help me to be a support and encouragement to them too, so that all of us will stand firm in you.  Thank you that when I am rooted in you, I am connected with others who love you.

With God’s help we will do mighty things.
(Psalm 108:13)

 

4 Comments on EARTH: Community Matters by Francine Rivers

  1. Without God’s help we are nothing. Thanks for the reflection this morning.

    Like

  2. Francine Rivers is one of my top 5 favourite authors. 🙂

    Like

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