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In praise of the fall

A reflection on the beauty of autumn, and seasons of the soul. Which season are you in right now?


As a British Christian preacher I should probably be ashamed of praising the fall. If I were an American preacher, though, especially in New England or Virginia, you would expect nothing less of me. The Fall, as perceived in America, does exactly ‘what it says on the tin’ – describing that moment in the year when the leaves fall.

AutumnYesterday I took a little time to walk amongst the trees and parkland of Windsor Great Park and it was unutterably gorgeous. The trees, cloaked in green leaves for Spring and Summer, are now shedding their leaves in every flaming shade from pale yellow to deep crimson. The bigger trees look majestic, and the smaller trees look like daylight fireworks – sparking against an Autumn sky.

On the ground is a carpet of such variety and richness that no interior designer could ever hope to match it. In short – it was beautiful. And all this from a moment which is the dying end of the tree’s life cycle. Beauty from decay – imagine that!

Some years ago I preached a sermon on the seasons of the soul.

Spring – when all is new, energy is in boundless supply, and we feel like there is nothing we cannot tackle for God.

Summer – when we want to be out and about and busy for God, but the spirit tires quickly in the heat and we must water it with prayer.

Autumn – a time to take stock of all the fruit which God has provided.

Winter – a time of harsh conditions but icy beauty too, when even the most ordinary thing can take on a kind of majesty.

Which season are you in just now?

Richard Littledale is the Minister of Teddington Baptist Church as well as an author and broadcaster. He is a regular contributor to Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2 and has written for St Andrew Press. He is currently working on a book for Paternoster Press on journey and discipleship. You can find him at richardlittledale.me.uk

Richard Littledale, 24/10/2013
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