This past Sunday was the first one of Autumn. Fall is often thought of as a passed over season. It is not the “bleak mid-winter” as one old Christmas song describes the post-fall period. It is not Spring, where life begins to come to life and we are reminded that we are a resurrection people. It's not Summer that promises warmth and fun and vacations. Fall seems more deliberate and methodical. It is an intentional slowdown from the business of summer guiding us into the quiet of winter.
Despite this slowdown, we notice the change happening around us. Slowly smoke begins to rise from chimney tops again. Pumpkin pies make their annual reappearance. The old and young alike wait with anticipation to go to the county fair to eat funnel cakes, candied apples, and whatever new culinary concoction is being offered that year. It seems that autumn gives us the ability to catch our breath. Perhaps this slowed pace is one of the reasons why we take time to be thankful and celebrate our thanksgiving with family and friends.
As the leaves change and the nights draw cooler, how do you take moments to breath? Finding rest and relaxation is crucial throughout the Bible. The year of jubilee requires folks to rest for a whole year every seven years. The prophets, apostles, and everyday church goers all took time to pray throughout the day. Even in the life in ministry of Jesus Christ, it should not go unnoticed that His first miracle was done at a party and celebration. Seeking rest is an act of holiness. It allows you to find God in ways that you typically do not. Just as importantly it allows you to hear God in deep and meaningful ways as well.
Now that Autumn is upon us, I invite you to reflect this season that we are in. Take time to slowdown. Autumn should not be thought of as a passed-over season, it is the mentality of being rushed that makes us think that way. Go out and find your peace and spirit amongst the changing colors, meeting with friends, or the sampling of a piece of pie. As we do this, perhaps in this season of transition we will find our hearts, souls, and minds in transition as well-tuned into a God who loves us, redeems us, and sustains us.
I would like to leave you with this “Autumn Prayer.” This time last year I was visiting one of my closest friends in Rochester, New York where he is serving as an Associate Pastor at an Alliance Baptist Church. My friend, Rev. Benjamin Smith, wrote this prayer and shared with his congregation that first Autumn Sunday morning. I hope you like it and receive it now, as I enjoyed it then.
Blessings to you as you find the moments of rest God is offering you now,
Pastor Paul Freeman
God who creates things,
You are the God of mornings like today.
You are the God of apple pies and cozy sweaters,
of crisp air, changing leaves, and cups of tea.
You gave us these things, and we thank You.