Altar Call – Opelika Auburn News
October 30, 2011
How wonderful are the changing seasons of life
If you need proof that God is love, consider the changing seasons of the year. What an incredible gift that it is not always winter or summer. In the dread of winter perseverance is made possible by the confidence that spring is coming.
The English poet Percy Shelley expressed the human spirit’s abiding hope of spring in his remarkable “Ode to the West Wind”: “O Wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” Shelley must have composed this ode in October for his mind is on dead leaves and ghosts like those that haunt us as we observe Halloween.
The west wind is the “breath of Autumn’s being” driving dead leaves like fleeing ghosts. Wincing and bleeding from the pain of falling upon “the thorns of life,” Shelley cries for the wind to lift him, “as a wave, a leaf, a cloud,” and “drive my dead thoughts over the universe like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!”
All of us know the pain of life’s winter thorns. Despite the delicate beauty of the rose the thorns are always present. Pain is relentless and inevitable. Suffering may linger for a season but it does come. Death lurks in the dark recesses of our minds but eventually emerges to claim each of us for the grave. We do so need the spring! Life is impossible without the hope of it.
But it is not always spring either. It comes with new life, new hopes, and new dreams. Winter cold is replaced by cool air. Spring is a time of planting seeds that will burst from the ground as the heat of summer does its work. Then comes the harvest time and we rejoice again as we did with the arrival of spring. As the air gradually grows cooler we know that winter is on the way. But that does not spoil our joyful embracing of the glorious autumn season.
O how marvelous the blessings of autumn! Pumpkins large and small are everywhere. Hugh bales of cotton, wrapped with colorful tarps, stand in the fields. Ghosts dance on tree limbs in every neighborhood. Tis the season of hay-baling so my brother Seth is busy in his fields harvesting hay before the rain falls. My grandsons sit quietly in the woods with their bows ready to greet a wandering Buck. Baseballs are flying into the stands as the World Series comes to an end. Football games are being played almost every night of the week. (I confess: I do love football!) Warm pumpkin, potato and pecan pies are enticing us to the dining room table.
And we must not forget Shelley’s dead leaves! We drive hundreds of miles to witness their breathtaking beauty only to come home and declare, “Why our leaves here at home are almost as beautiful!” Still the exquisite autumn leaves of the Northeast lure us southerners back to see them one more time.
When you say your prayers tonight don’t stop with “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Take a few moments to thank the Lord for the gift of the changing seasons.
In the course of our years we enjoy the changing seasons of the earth. In our journey from the cradle to the Father’s House, we are blessed as well by the changing seasons of our spiritual lives. The harsh winter of the journey does not last forever. An eternal spring does come. That is God’s plan for which we may give hearty thanks as the glorious autumn leaves float gently to the earth and we savor our pumpkin pies. + + +