A few years ago, Readers Digest published an article entitled, What Good Is a Tree? The article explained that when the roots of trees touch, there is a substance present which reduces competition. In fact, the unknown fungus helps link roots of different trees, even of dissimilar species. A whole forest may be linked together. If one tree has access to water, another to nutrients, and a third to sunlight, the trees have the means to share with one another.
Today we live in a world in which genuine unity seems to be fading fast. It seems like we are being torn apart. In William Butler Yeats' poem, The Second Coming, we find his description of the world which almost seems prophetic: "Things fall apart; The center cannot hold." Like pieces of a flywheel which is spinning too fast, the centrifugal forces of our world seem to be ripping apart whatever fragile unity there is.
A Gallup poll reported that some 70% of Americans believe that most churches and synagogues today are not effective in helping people find meaning in life. Gallup goes on to list six "needs" of Americans:
- The need to believe that life is meaningful and has a purpose.
- The need for a sense of community and deeper relationships.
- The need to be appreciated and respected.
- The need to be listened to and heard.
- The need to feel that one was growing in the faith.
- The need for practical help in developing mature faith.
The second item on that list grabbed my attention: The need for a sense of community and deeper relationships. My sense is that people want and need a sense of community. While "sheltering in place" is very much needed, it also puts limits on our ability to connect with each other. But one day soon, I hope we will not only gather with each other - but that we will appreciate what a gift that connection is. Until then, may we be connected and held together by the Spirit of the Risen Christ!