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Fall: A Time to Return to our Roots
One thing is certain about weather in Happy Valley: fall comes on time. Winter may be long. Spring may never arrive. Summer may be short but fall comes on time.
With autumn’s appearance, our lives are eased back in routine. Vacations are over and schools start. We face another cycle of the year, savoring what we harvested and preparing for what lies ahead. It is time to begin the cycle once more, returning to normalcy, predictability, even dormancy but also of death. Fall is a harbinger of winter.
The Church Year is so similar. The dark days of Lent sobriety give way to Paschal springtide. We bask in the greenness, the vibrancy of Pentecost, punctuated with lesser fasts. Without these latter we might lose sight of what lies ahead: transfigured life and at the last, Christ’s eternal embrace not merely of His mother but of us.
Then completed, we begin the ecclesiastical course again: its rhythms, its cadences, predictable. Our lives measure the steps, or rather the Church Year measures ours. We return to our roots, as surely as sap falls and leaves drop. Trees need that. So do we, as long as there is hope of spring, of summer.
The Church has always associated this time of year with the Creation of the world and consequently with a Garden. In that original garden, God’s provision had been taken for granted. Man’s actions in response to a snake’s deceit would cause a rupture with God. Leaves would fall and hardship await, until the promised time of Redemption: a man would be born to a woman to restore all things (Gen. 3:15). That Serpent would be laid low.
Thus, the story begins again for us, a story of God’s providence. God’s time enters ours, the seeming futility of predictable cycles of birth and death are challenged. A second Eve is promised to the world. Her Seed will undo the curse of death and futility. History moves toward culmination not meaningless repetition. The natural circuits of years and lives are no longer meaningless. They brim with prophecy and fulfillment, if we embrace the narrative.
So, let me challenge you to begin this year by celebrating both Holy Days this month. The Nativity of the Theotokos begins the cycle once more, as God’s fulfills his promise to Eve. The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which brings joy to all the world, sums up the message of Redemption.
From the Rector’s Desk,