Posted by Michael
A redwood forest is a great place to find sermon fodder. These massive trees are a powerful testimony to the necessity of community, balance and the awesome creativity of the Creator.
It only takes a moment among the Redwoods to see the immensity of these trees. They do not lend well to people who feel they need to be surrounded by their noise-producing "things." Instead, there is an almost mystical feeling that permeates the air as you walk as an infant among giants, but these trees whose heights reach a staggering 380 feet tall are totally dependent on their community to stay standing - which is how their Creator intended them to live. The root system of these magnificent trees does not include a tap root. The roots go no deeper than 20 feet, but they spread out for a hundred or more yards in every direction. As much as one tree reaches out, all of the others do the same so, underground, there is a tangle of interlacing and interlocking roots. It is this underground network of roots that enables these trees to withstand the occasional 40-50 mph winds that roar up and down our valley. They are completely reliant on community to survive. This is also why a solitary redwood tree is a dangerous thing. Without the interlocking roots of other trees to help hold them up, they are very susceptible to falling down and very great is their fall - believe me... This is reminiscent of the body of Christ where we, too, must live in community dependent on others even as others are dependent on us. It is the lone ranger, the one who feels they do not need community or fellowship. Thus they are very vulnerable to temptation and falling into sin. Community provides that support to help us live a life of faith.
As for balance, consider how you have to adjust and lean into the windy on one of those blustery days. Now, take a moment and think about how well you would do with keeping your balance if your shoes were stuck to the ground making it so you could not move your feet. This can be a challenge if you are only human height. Imagine trying to do this if you were over 300 feet tall. This is the everyday feat of the Giant Redwoods. The root system referenced above is a major player in this amazing accomplishment, but there is more to it which highlights, again, our awesome Creator's brilliance. As much as most do not view trees as sentient beings, there is something within the Redwood tree that is able to sense when the tree is out of balance. Should a branch be knocked off by a sudden gust of wind or some other event of life, the tree may easily find itself out of balance. From somewhere deep in the tree, a decision is made to either begin growing another branch on the same side at super-duper speed OR on the opposite side, a branch will have all of the water and other nutrients cut off so that the branch falls off in a short amount of time. In this way, the Giant Redwood is able to stand tall even through 2,000 years of wind storms, falling branches and other calamities that easily should claim their lives. Balance is maintained through either adding or subtracting, but balance must be maintained. In our own lives, balance must be maintained even when storms come along and knock branches off of us. Sometimes we need to add something; other times we have to get rid of something, but balance must be maintained. This is what is meant to walk as mature believers in the faith - not subject to wild gyrations in our personal lives. So, you must be firmly rooted... in Him and established in your faith. (Col 2:7)