In my front yard, there’s an aspen tree. If you’ve never seen aspen trees in the fall, they’re beautiful. Driving up into the Colorado mountains in October is majestic. The beautiful leaves rustling in the wind, the gently swaying branches, and the all seeing eyes.
But there is another side to an aspen tree that often goes unnoticed. It grows everywhere. That one aspen tree has produced fifty more. My lawn is now covered in them. The grass is dead, the lawn uneven, and there are a whole assortment of little shoots and exposed roots everywhere. It’s cracked the sidewalk and pushed out flowers.
Easy solution is to kill it right?
Wish that worked.
You see, several years ago there was another tree. It was cut down, had the chain saw run through the center of it, and was exposed to chemicals. Last year, new shoots started coming out of it. Not even death can keep these aspen trees down.
Sort of reminds me of the Kingdom of God.
People have tried for years for disprove it, ignore it, kill it, harm it, poison it, and bring it to its final demise. Still hasn’t happened.
Much like the aspen tree in my front yard, the Kingdom of God is relentlessly advancing, taking more ground and showing up in new and unexpected places.
And as I think about the missional movement, I see new shoots popping up everywhere. Where the institutional church had once tried to control where growth happened (like I have with my Aspen trees), they have slowly lost control and respect.
Most simply because God’s kingdom cannot be contained.
The more the church tried to control it, the more it yearned to be free and explode.
Now, people are experiencing a new and invigorating way to do church. Fresh expressions are happening everywhere, in new and unexpected places. God’s new creation is bursting forth
into this one, shaping and calling people to experience it in new and life-giving ways.
Places that were once dark and excluded are now exuding light.
I look at my own community and how I have seen it change in the last couple of years. New friendships have shown us that God is continually working, even in (maybe especially in) areas or ways that we may not expect.
In fact, it’s become an art to intentionally seek out the unexpected ways to see how God is working.
The more I look at my Aspen tree, the more I hear Jesus speaking.”The Kingdom of God is like an Aspen tree. Though it may start small, it cannot be stopped. Where one small seed starts, soon others will follow and what was once one tiny tree will soon be a forest.”