You may have heard about the research that shows some of the ways trees communicate with each other. Though they may seem, on the surface, to be individual entities stretching toward the sky, it turns out that they have ways to communicate with each other and are deeply interconnected. Their root systems intertwine and they share the nourishment of the ground; but even for trees separated by great lengths, scientists have found that they can communicate with each other through a vast network of tiny fungi (known as mycorrhizae). They tell each other when they are in trouble - because when one tree is in danger, they all are. They also transfer nutrients to each other through this network, and even send toxic chemicals through it to unwelcome plant intruders. You may not be able to *see* the connectedness, but it is there. They are also able to communicate through the air. When there are too many herbivores feasting on acacia trees, they will begin to send chemical signals downwind to warn the other acacias – and those trees’ leaves will turn bitter and inedible. In some of the same ways, our human community is interconnected and can be our first defense to toxic environmental changes that may be coming our way. How has the “communion of saints” been like this for you? Have there been moments in your life that someone was able to see something before you could? To warn you of danger or offer you much-needed nourishment? How might you lean into this kind of “discernment” on another’s behalf, within your community? Are you a sensitive person who can catch whiffs of toxicity easier than most? You may have considered that a weakness at some points in your life, and longed for "thicker skin". But what if it is a gift given to you – not only for yourself, but the wider community? How might you lean into that empathy as a part of the communal work of listening to God and discerning where God might be inviting you/your community?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2021-08-19 14:29:57 UTC