Fresh Hope – 26th June 2020

The Aspen is a deciduous tree found in the northern hemisphere. Unusually for a deciduous tree it thrives in places that are normally reserved for coniferous forests. The Aspen tree has some features that make it able to survive where few other deciduous trees can.

Aspen’s grow in groves of many trees but within each grove all the trees are in fact connected by their root system. Each tree in a grove is actually part of the same tree, they are all shoots from the same interconnected mass of roots.

This gives the Aspen tree some unique attributes. It can survive forest fires and storms. The trees may burn or be felled but the root system simply sends up a new shoot to replace the damaged trees. Each individual tree may only live between 40 to 150 years but the whole root can survive for thousands of years. There is a grove in the USA that scientists believe is 80,000 years old, making it the oldest living thing on the planet.

The Aspen’s root system enables the tree to survive in conditions and through traumas that other trees cannot. The secret to that ability is it hidden underground interconnection.

In John 15:5 Jesus says ‘I am the vine and you are the branches’. Jesus is painting a picture of what it is like to be a child of God. He is explaining that through him we are not only connected to him, but to the root. The root is the source of all the nutrients that we need to survive. The root also gives us stability and an anchor to hold firm to in a storm. That root is God.

As we are all branches of the same vine, then not only are we connected to Jesus and the root but also through him to each other. Some of us are old branches, gnarled and rough to the touch whilst others are new fresh shoots, but nevertheless we are all connected to the same vine.

The fact that we can be so connected helps us, like the Aspen tree, survive through the storms in our lives. We can draw our strength, our hope, our joy and our salvation from our connection to Jesus and to each other. Jesus urges us to remain in him and he will remain in us. Through that invisible interconnection, our lives will ‘bear much fruit’.

Richard Ashmore

A daily devotion for a better way of living.