by Christine Berglund
Denver, Colorado, has long been home to me for many reasons. One of those reasons is that it boasts a higher altitude (a mile high) and therefore is the place closest to heaven out of all the states we have lived in.
Sure, I realize physical proximity to the sky doesn’t get me closer to heaven. But my husband and I spent a week there at Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver Homecoming Lectures last week, and it certainly felt like heaven!
Although we were disappointed to see that the legendary aspens were not yet in their prime, we did get to see a little color. We spotted these little individual trees on the road to Mount Evans (photo).
It was intriguing to discover that the aspen groves are interconnected, and that a grove of these beautiful trees is really one organism.
The Aspen, or Populus Tremuloides, spreads by root growth, and each tree is identical in genetic material. Each tree trunk is a stem that has suckered off the lateral growth of the roots of the parent plant. The largest grove is in Utah, and is estimated at 6,600 short tons.
The “Quaking Aspen,” so named from its leaves that literally tremble, is much like the church. Christians are connected, and look to our Father for our pattern. Can we be so different if we share a heavenly Father?
We are to be “transformed into the same image, from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB).
While we do not lose our individuality, we must lose ourselves to the perfect will of God, as we become more useful members of the kingdom. Inasmuch as we resemble Christ, we will also resemble one another.
What a glorious sight when all the aspens turn bright gold in a giant streak across the dark green, conifer-clad Rocky Mountains! Think of how wonderful it looks to God when his church, as one, is transformed from glory to glory.
We cannot be as effective on our own, without fellow Christians. There are more than 50 references to “one another” in the New Testament. We work as a group, to lift one another up and come closer to our Lord. That is the nature of the church and of our fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters.
It was so good to be welcomed in Colorado by dear old friends! It refreshed our spirits. When we come together for worship or fellowship, we are made stronger. We find out each other’s needs and cares, and can pray with more understanding and help out where needed.
Many things break these connections today, but many others help us stay connected and useful. Technology allows us to communicate with faraway friends and the local church in a way we never thought possible a few decades ago. We need to be cautious not to let these easy connections keep us from that personal touch that served the church well over the centuries.
Breaking bread from house to house is not a lost art, nor should it ever be. Bear Valley friends who prepared fabulous dinners for us in their homes reminded me to do even more of this.
My idea of entertaining may be soup instead of a big turkey dinner, but no matter. Some of our best fellowship has been over a glass of iced tea!
We all need a little togetherness, whether in person or otherwise. The church is an organism that stands out in glorious contrast to the world, and more so when we work together.
Let’s show our colors, shall we?