With a Canadian Rector at the helm of our Parish and the anticipation of the Harvest Supper on 1 October and the Harvest Lunch on 3 October (get your tickets soon!) it would be easy to start referring to this season as “Fall”. But here, in dearest old East Sussex, I think we’ll stick to Autumn, not least because I don’t want to venture into the Christian teachings about the Fall (of Man)!
Some folks don’t like the change of the Season into Autumn and the loss of the sunshine, warmth and airy breezes of summertime (not so much in fact in 2021!). But there is much to cherish in Autumn-time here in Buxted: the bright colours of the changing leaves and leaf fall as we walk the woods; the opportunities to light fires and stoves and be cozy; the deliciousness of seasonal fruits and foods. And there is much to reflect upon of value in our Christian lives at this time of year.
The bible only once mentions Autumn. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that Autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. So, how can we consider Autumn in our lives?
To kick off, changing seasons remind us that God is unchangeable. Goodness but have we had a challenging time this past 18 months. In so many different ways for so many people. And yet through it all we know that God has remained close by our side, a constant companion and guide; the Holy Spirit our comforter. As we are told of Jesus in Hebrews 13:8, “the same yesterday and today and forever.” It’s driven home by this verse from the popular hymn, Abide with Me:
“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”
And Autumn also reminds us that things do come to an end, as the animals hibernate, the trees are bare and the plants die back to just their underground corms. So it can be useful to reflect on the things in our lives which we should let go, which often we carry and can burden us and which, with God’s good grace we can lay down and walk on from. Such things can take time to part from and for us to heal from our sense of loss and the weight which they have placed upon us but, thinking of the seasons’ metaphor: in Autumn, we know that Winter lies ahead, but when Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
God bless from us all at St Mary’s, where you are always sure to receive a very warm welcome.

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