My husband and I just got back from a fun field trip with our kids. We acted as chaperone/cabin leaders on a two night stay at the Redwood State National Park Wolf Creek Outdoor School (that kind of sounded like a hotel commercial). Not quite, our accommodations included 8 sets of bunk beds, with a bunch of silly kids and sleeping on pads of about 1/8 of an inch thick! Now mind you, while there for our outdoor school adventure, it also rained approximately 80% of the time. I am happy to report that most of the kids had thick skin and there wasn’t much complaining AT ALL. When you live on the North Coast as we do, you just have to accept that rain is just part of the game (I have to keep reminding myself of that little fact, teehee)!
The premise of outdoor school is to provide students with a fun and educational experience in which they did field studies of the surrounding elements. The field studies for the outdoor school focused on three areas which were: watershed (water cycle), prairie habitat and old growth redwoods. During each study, a forest ranger took us parent leaders, along with a group of kids out into the surroundings where they led studies with fun and active participation from the kids. At the end of each field study, the students had to write about something which they learned for that particular study and then what they liked most about it. Being the big kid that I am and refusing to grow up, I thought I’d write this blog about my favorite study and what I personally took away from it.
My favorite turned out to be the old growth redwood study. I enjoyed it primarily because the redwoods are indigenous to our area and I never cease to amazed by the enormity of their height, width, strength and majestic beauty. During one part of this study, the ranger asked that we all lay on the ground and stare up at the redwoods. It felt magical to watch the rain flow down through layers of the tree canopy which floated more like snowflakes than like actual raindrops. We also took solo hikes through the forest and were asked to go slow and use all our senses as we strolled along paths and enjoyed all the sights and sounds of the forest. The students also learned all kind of neat and interesting facts about old growth redwoods.
It reminded me of when I first moved to California and learned about the redwoods. One of the things that shocked and yet impress me the most about them was their extensive root system. You would think that because of their enormous size, that they would have deep roots. Yet the opposite is true, they are shallow. They extend over one hundred feet from the base of the tree and intertwine with the roots of other redwoods. They usually grow in groups called groves. This increases their stability to withstand storms and flooding. In essence, God created them to need one another to stand tall and strong.
The redwoods remind me of what I call the “one another” principal in the bible. In John 13:34 it says: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. It’s kind of like a grove of redwoods. When God created us, he did not create us to be alone but that we would need each other for support. God created us all with a deep need for love and community. From the beginning God said it was not good for man to be alone and he created Eve for Adam. He told them to be fruitful and multiply and to fill the earth. God instituted the first family and he made them to be helpers, one to another. This is why God gives us our families today and as a greater picture, the body of Christ and members of God’s family.
In 1 Cornithians 12, God gives us a picture of the church as one person with many different functioning parts because this is how the church is to function properly. When we become a believer, we are baptized into Christ as one. We are all created unique and special in our own ways, but God created each of us for one another. We all have different personalities, gifts and abilities but all are to be used for helping one another along in our journey with him (Ephesians 4:16).
As a visual demonstration of a redwood root system, the ranger passed out a net (similar to that of a cargo net) and told us all to stand in a circle and grab hold of an outer edge of the net. Then, one at a time, the ranger asked that each person while holding on to the net take a turn leaning back and see how the rest of us supported their weight. This was such a powerful visual of redwood root system and the support the redwoods gained from each another. I couldn’t help but think of our amazing creator who not old formed these amazing giants but also the structure in which he created them to exist, in groves. It was also a powerful reminder to me of how Christ created the family and his church to function! Him as the head, and each one doing it’s part with the ultimate goal of giving God the glory by doing His work and being his hands and his feet here in the world today! What an awesome God we serve!
Father God, I thank you for instituting the family. Thank you that it is a place where we can grow together and to become more like you in showing love for and serving one another. Thank you that you formed the church in the same way. Help us to work toward unity in the body of Christ also that we may be a reflection of you for the advancement of your kingdom work. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.