When life is disappointing or overwhelming, I always find it so soothing, healing, and perspective-giving to step away from my troubles and responsibilities to soak in the beauty of nature around me–whether the largeness of the night sky, or the growing, blooming things in spring, or the glory of autumn. Though in different ways, our world in 2021 may be just as tumultuous and uncertain as it was a year ago. These words from my Aunt Peggy, posted to Facebook last October, resonated with me. And as her words and influence have all my life, these autumn reflections lift my countenance upward in hope. May you too be blessed as you look for reminders of our Creator’s goodness and faithfulness.
The Gospel According to Autumn
Guest Post by Peggy Fitzpatrick
Oh October! Can we imagine more glorious images than the shimmering sapphire of October skies overhead, and the canopy of brilliant splendor that turns light to gold surrounding us wherever we go! What do we glimpse of our Creator’s heart, we who live in the northern hemisphere and experience such heart-stopping beauty every year?!
During war time and peace time, tragedy and celebration, turbulence and tranquility in the affairs of men, the timeless hegemony of the seasons unfolds without fail, a wordless witness to the sovereignty of the King of the universe, whose presence and power remain unshaken through all the shakings of humanity’s conflict.
What a Rock, what a Refuge, what a sanctuary of refreshment, this knowledge of our Creator who is also Love itself.
This autumn in particular, as our world is shaking with imminent threats and tumultuous upheaval, I am moved more than ever by “the beauty of the earth and the glory of the skies”, stepping calmly through their seasons, as undistressed as the butterfly making its blossomy rounds, and I am moved to ponder the Gospel According to Autumn.
Here we stand between life’s bounteous summer and winter’s death-like nakedness. On the somber gray or rainy days, there stands the invitation to reflection, contemplation, drawing inward as is appropriate as the glory of life approaches its passage into its dying; these are the quiet Days of Awe in response to the approaching Day of Reckoning, the call of Jesus to be sober and vigilant and consider our times, because we will each appear before our Maker at the end of our days.
But also in this passage, we are wrapped, entirely surrounded by overarching, breathtaking images of splendor, majesty, glory, with all its promises of a Goodness that surpasses all dying. There is hope everywhere, in the brilliance of every leaf, the saturated light that splashes so abundantly color on meadows and woodlands and grasses even as they prepare for the colorless days just around the bend.
How can we but lift our heads and our hands in utter worship?!
How can we but entrust ourselves with absolute faith to the One who will be with us as we walk into the winter that is surely coming but is always followed by spring?
How can we not sing for joy over the hope of our salvation, and the magnificence of our God and His eternal plan!
Whatever comes of good or ill, there is our eternal Alpha and Omega and the glory of Resurrection!
Peggy Fitzpatrick is one who ponders, who worships, and who is deeply moved by the beauty of the Creator and his creation. She is mother to three and grandmother to six. Peggy and her husband David live in Franklin, Tennessee, where together they head the Institute for Cross Cultural Affairs.