The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. ~ Isaiah 40:8
Autumn began yesterday. My cucumber vines and basil plants are losing steam, the tomatoes are nearly all harvested, and I’ve already been to the orchard to pick apples. Sugar maples are beginning to burst into red or yellow, and the sumac is turning its majestic shade of burgundy.
There’s something bittersweet about seeing the change of colors and ripened fruit. This time of year certainly brings a beauty and a richness to the landscape, but it also makes me conscious of the impending winter. The sun sets a little earlier each evening, reminding us of the changes in our own lives. The season witnesses to the impermanence of life; it hints of the inevitable aging and maturation of everything, our crops, our trees, our children, our own bodies. We learn to cherish every smile, every kindness, every sweet apple, every long afternoon, because we know that none of them will last forever.
This fall feels especially ominous and challenging. We took every opportunity we could find this summer to savor chances to visit with one another and keep active outdoors. How will we manage social distancing and separation through the long months of winter cold and shortened days?
Despite how unsettled and upsetting these fears may be, I’m again encouraged by the words of the prophets, who endured greater changes and losses than even this year brings us. When facing exile, imprisonment, loss and challenge, the faithful found their grounding in the promises of God’s eternal love and persistent power to save us. Even as the trees lose their leaves and the flowers give up their bloom, God remains steadfast. Through all that remains uncertain in our lives, the God of the Harvest continues to carry us toward resurrected grace and renewed hope.
Stand strong in faith and goodness, dear ones. God is with us.