Our eldest daughter, Jessica, lives with her family in southern California. That, in itself, conjures up pictures of palm trees (which, she informs me, are not endemic to the area, and are sucking up the much-needed water in the currently drought-stricken area), and movie stars, (which ARE endemic to area, editorial comments notwithstanding…) What is able to grow there, seemingly with little effort, is the aloe vera plant. On one of our walks with that b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l granddaughter of mine, Jessie pointed out a particular aloe specimen she thought very poignant.
In looking closely at the plant, you’ll notice that some of the leaves/branches are actually fused together (photo #3). My daughter says this happens because the leaves are so tightly packed next to each other as they are unfurling in the early stages, that they just don’t separate as they mature. And she thought that was a pretty cool analogy.
So do I…
Just think what could happen if, as people of Christ, we allowed that kind of bonding from being so packed into each others’ lives and circumstances, in healthy ways of course (proper boundaries and all that), think what kind of impact that could have, not only on our own individual lives, but on society as a whole. Look again how BIG that one leaf is–there’s got to be a boatload of aloe vera juice in there that could cover a pretty nasty sunburn!
And clearly, there is a large quantity of “burned” people (Christians included) who need this “oil of joy for mourning” as one Old Testament writer put it. Yeah, they certainly had their share of church pain back then as well. Fast-forward to the New Testament church, and their concept of “koinonia”, which is explained by that unimpeachable repository of information known as Wikipedia:
“The essential meaning of the koinonia embraces concepts conveyed in the English terms community, communion, joint participation, sharing and intimacy. Koinonia can therefore refer in some contexts to a jointly contributed gift. The word appears 19 times in most editions of the Greek New Testament. In the New American Standard Bible, it is translated “fellowship” twelve times, “sharing” three times, and “participation” and “contribution” twice each.”
Since this was obviously a very important concept to them, I offer a challenge for us all to ask God to plant and unfurl us in the place of His own special choosing, so that we can grow together into an effectual “specimen”, breaking us open, and letting the healing juice pour out where it’s needed.
Even in places of drought, as only He can.
Thanks for the lesson, Jess!