As we enter the final months of the year, the natural world around us is beginning to prepare for winter. Many people find the turn from warm summer days, the swell of gardens filled with blooms and heavy green leaf laden trees into Autumn challenging because it points to aging, decay and the closing down of things, of life even.

With Covid-19 as a backdrop to this Autumn these changes can become even more challenging.

But here in Buxted and Harlow Down our countryside makes the turning of the season a celebration of the progression of life, of maturity and of ripeness. Of beauty as green turns to red and into gold.

In our lives, there is a time for every season. The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament spoke of this:

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to end and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to turn away,

a time for strife and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8)

This is the wealth of the human experience. And in each and every season, in the closing down of the year, in the challenges of Covid-19, God is always with us, always present.

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