It was only a few years ago when I learned that trees communicate with each other. In fact, they form communities, connected underground by intricate root systems. Dr. Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia and the author of the book, “Finding the Mother Tree,” writes that this root system is “sort of like a below-ground pipeline, that connects one tree root system to another tree root system, so that nutrients and carbon and water can exchange between the trees.” When this root system is damaged, the entire forest of connection is threatened.
I am not sure why this surprised me. It is the truth of creation, is it not? The moon shines and the tides respond. The rain falls, the sun shines, and the flowers bloom. As a part of creation we are all connected. The Apostle Paul writes, ““If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (I Corinthians 12:26).” What honors or threatens one of God’s children, even across the globe, honors or threatens us all. Surely, if Covid taught us anything, it taught us just how connected we are.
The United Methodist Church recognizes and seeks to honor this connection. It is one reason I became a United Methodist over twenty years ago. The UMC lives out our connection as the body of Christ in powerful ways that have tremendous impact across the globe.
As the Mission Secretary of the Heritage District, I want to encourage and affirm each of you and the ministry in which you are engaging. What you do, what we do, matters.
It matters when we join in prayer for one another across the district, across the conference, across the globe. And it matters when we don’t.
It matters when we share God’s love, forgiveness, grace and mercy. And it matters when we don’t.
It matters when we feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, visit the sick and imprisoned. And it matters when we don’t.
It matters when we partner with schools to help educate the children in our community. And it matters when we don’t.
It matters when we reach out to those who have been pushed aside. And it matters when we don’t.
It matters when we stand up to injustice in all the ways it presents itself. And it matters when we don’t.
From our largest churches, to our smallest, what we do makes a difference. As the people of the United Methodist Church, our prayers, our gifts, our service, and our witness offer the world a glimpse of God, and a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. We are the Body of Christ, called to be a sign, instrument, and foretaste of “God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”
May it be so.
With thanksgiving for you and our connection,
Heritage District Mission Secretary
If you would like to view past editions of Time with Ismael,
follow this link: https://heritagedistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/