As we look around us now with October nearly gone, we realize that nature is beginning that final glorious display of color as the turn yellow, gold, orange and red. Mixed in with the evergreens it is a magnificent sight. But we often forget that this is really a sign that nature is beginning to die, to go into that winter time of sinking back into the earth as it awaits that spark of Spring to come.
We also are reminded of the Scripture verse that states that a ". . . corn of wheat must "die" else it abides alone." It reveals that deep spiritual truth that this "dying" of nature provides the very essence upon which new growth is based and which provides the substances that sustain new growth.
I think we all love the beauty of Autumn but in our own personal lives we really dislike change. We would all probably like everything to stay the same, to never change so we don't have to adjust our attitudes, adjust our schedules, feel the stresses that come when friendships come and go, when deeply personal relationships shift and/or mature. Yet that is one of the most important aspects of human existence--nothing ever stays the same. So it is with our spiritual lives. God has made us so that we can grow and mature, that we are made stronger by our difficulties and our challenges. We need the testing and the stretching that life's hurdles demand and we are better people, providing our responses to those challenges are not bitterness, discouragement, depression, or anger.
Of course, we know that our initial response is often one that surprises even ourselves. But God asks us to look deeper, think carefully, and make a choice to walk according to his leading--to allow his love and grace to inform and fill us, to allow his forgiveness of us to be passed on in our forgiving of others. In other words, we have "die to ourselves and live unto Christ" as the Apostle Paul advises. We have to be that "corn of wheat that falls into the earth and dies" -- allowing new feelings, new responses, new attitudes, a new openness to where God is leading us. Perhaps that is the greatest lesson of Autumn.
“Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us;
In your love and tenderness, remake us.
In your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness,
For the beauty of heaven, may your love prepare us.”
-- Anselm of Canterbury, 11th Century