We spent the weekend in the forest, contemplating what God is showing us about community through nature. A friend gave us a tour and shared his insights about the watershed that provides drinking water to the Greater Vancouver Regional District. We went for several night and day nature walks, crossed the dam, visited the hatchery, and fasted. The dozen people in our group were a core part of our church community in Vancouver.
It is fascinating what God has set out in natural ecological cycles and how much we can learn from these ecosystems that provides wisdom for us as a community.
We looked at many stages of the forest, including a monoculture. In this part of the forest, all of the trees were Douglas Fir that were all the same size and height. There was no understory or young trees. By simply observing this forest and thinking about our community, we could gain wisdom about the qualities of a group lacking diversity. There were many other parallels, such as the stages of a new forest as it grows to maturity, how conditions like a flood or fire impact the forest, etc…
In society we are very skilled at entertaining ourselves to death. Because of the distractions that fill my days, I am missing all of these messages. The whole group was so grateful to have been brought out of those distractions to get a tiny taste of this. What a dramatic change of scenery from the Downtown Eastside, and only a few minutes away.
It’s been about 7 months now that we’ve been a “church” – about 2 years in being birthed altogether. And community has felt very slow in coming. It’s been disappointing and hard. I still feel isolated and trust is slow to come. But one person who was with us from New Zealand said – from the outside perspective – we definitely have something here that is real and that is rare. When I am with everyone, I realize how valuable this companionship is. When I’m back to my immersion into my normal life, it’s hard to crave that community.
I am like a potted plant, placed in a greenhouse with 19 other potted plants, our roots neatly contained.