Autumn in Florida…Really?
My relatives in northern Michigan laugh out loud when I say that we have a change of seasons in Florida, but I’ve definitely feel a cooler breeze coming off the lake during my early morning walks. There are even a few trees that make a feeble attempt to put some color in their leaves. Okay…that might be a stretch!
The only thing I miss about living in the North is autumn…the smell of the leaves on the ground, the cold breeze in the air, the burst of glory in the colors of maple and oak trees. The small Pennsylvania town in which I grew up celebrates it every year with an Autumn Leaf Festival.
Maybe that’s why I jumped at the opportunity to be the guest speaker for a “Fall Foliage Cruise” along the New England coast next fall. Consider this an invitation for you to join us. You’ll find the information at here. I’m thinking about doing homework on religion in New England for my messages on the cruise, which brings me to Emily Dickinson. She wrote about the way summer fades into fall in her poem, “Indian Summer.”
Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,
Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!
She captured the feeling of melancholy that comes along with end of summer and the beginning of autumn. The trees exploding in color are a last burst of glorious life before the hard cold of winter. The coming of autumn means that winter is on the way. I was on the phone with a pastor in the Midwest the other day. When I asked if they were enjoying autumn, she said, “Yes, but we know what’s coming!” If fall is here, can winter be far behind?
For Everything a Season
Maybe the point — since preachers have an irrepressible need to make a spiritual point out of ordinary observations, — is that even we who live in the Sunshine State need to learn to live with the changing of the seasons in our lives. The writer of Ecclesiastes said it, but Byrds set it to music: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
An essential part of spiritual maturity is learning to read the seasons in our lives. There are growth seasons and there are fallow seasons. There are seasons when we walk in the sunshine of God’s presence and there are seasons when we face “the dark night of the soul.” Living by faith includes trusting in the goodness of God’s presence with us in every season, whatever the weather.
My word to my Michigan relatives is, “Enjoy autumn while it lasts! We’ll see you in February!”
Grace and peace,