Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Seasons of Life

Dear Friends,

A cool breeze last evening and a chilly 48 degrees this morning. A change of color in the trees across the street. A freshness in the air that portends the passage of a season and prepares us for the next. Autumn is a time of beauty and peace for contemplatives, photographers, writers and artists. The brilliant tapestry of autumn colors feeds one’s soul and heart with such a dazzling display of God’s handiwork that we just need to go out and play in it. It’s time to go to Oak Glen.

My family started going there in 1963 and my mom is still good friends with 95 year old Theresa Law who is one of the town’s original founders. Oak Glen is known for its abundant apple orchards and its rolling hills covered with vivid autumn reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s as close as you can get to a spectacular New England autumn without getting on a plane.

Seasonal transitions of “nature” in God’s Creation remind us of seasons in our church and in our life. Autumn also signals the arrival of Advent – that season of anticipation as we prepare for the birth of the Christ child. Advent leads us to the Christmas celebration which includes Epiphany– the manifestation of the Savior Jesus to the Gentiles. Soon the chill of winter gives way to the warmth of spring and a season of spiritual growth. Lent is a time of reflection and recommitment to a renewed relationship with God. We approach Good Friday with our unspeakable gratitude for the ultimate gift of God’s grace and salvation mixed along with a sense of sorrow for the suffering that Jesus endured. Easter– Resurrection Sunday– is truly a glorious day and the most important of all Christian Holy Days (“holidays”). Fifty days later comes Pentecost, marking the day that God’s presence became actively working in believers through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to enable us to become a witness of His glory and grace to the world. After Pentecost we enter a season of what the church calls “Ordinary Time.” But the time quickly passes and before long, we sense a freshness in the air and soon the autumn colors are bringing us once again to the season of Advent...

The journey through our church seasons reveals the mystery of God’s plan as it unfolds for us in the life of the church, and we are reminded that with each transition, there is something new again. 

In God’s Creation, there is a rhythmic cycle with the organic flow of our four seasons. Every three months, a transition to the next. Depressed by the gray, gloominess of winter? The warmth of spring is right around the corner. Tired of spring showers? The long, hot days of summer are ahead. Worn down by the heat and smog? The cooler glorious world of autumn awaits you. Bored and weary with autumn? Grab the winter coat, gather the firewood and prepare for those long, frosty winter nights. We are reminded that with each transition, there is something new again.

So it is with the seasons of life. You may be in a springtime season of new birth and growth. You may be feeling as if caught in the dry, tiring days of what seems like an endless summer. This may be a contemplative, peaceful autumn time of thanksgiving for you. Or you may find yourself in the cold, dark, loneliness of a long winter season.

Seasons of life. Each with its own set of experiences and the passing of each season leaving behind memories of what was. Some seasons of life are filled with pain and discomfort and leave behind uncertainties, fears and doubts. And God says: “But forget all that-- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19 New Living Translation)  Praise God! I love how He puts that. All these worries and struggles you're going through? Forget about all that! God says, just you wait until you see what this next season will bring! He reminds us that with each life transition, there is something new again.

Remember that no matter what season of life we’re in, there are three guarantees we can count on: 1) This present season will come to an end. 2) God has already begun to do something new for you in the next season. And, 3) The one unchanging constant that we can trust in and count on is this: God is standing with us in this season and He is waiting for us in the next.  Amen?

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of God's creations and the seasons. I recall these words,
    The Beauty of Creation Bears Witness to God
    Question the beauty of the earth,
    The beauty of the sea,
    The beauty of the wide air around you,
    The beauty of the sky;
    Question the order of the stars,
    The sun whose brightness lights the day,
    The moon whose splendor softens the gloom of night;
    Question the living creatures that move in the waters,
    That roam upon the earth,
    That fly through the air;
    The spirit that lies hidden,
    The matter that is manifest;
    The visible things that are ruled,
    The invisible that rule them;
    Question all these.
    They will answer you:
    “Behold and see, we are beautiful.”
    Their beauty is their confession of God
    Who made these beautiful changing things,
    If not one who is beautiful and changeth not?
    - Saint Augustine