This morning I drove out to a friend's church through the autumnal glory of the Buckinghamshire countryside on a sunny day. This time of year the leaves are dying and as they do so give us a riot of colour; a final burst of glory before dropping to the ground. So, I found myself reflecting on this 'rhythm' of life.
I did that with even greater intent because I was meeting up with a minister friend on her last day on the 'job'. Today she leaves her church after a faithful ministry and to 'celebrate' this moment two of us shared a meal with her in the beautiful church hall which acts as a splendid community cafe once a week. It was an 'ending' and yet, as she leaves, the church community she has served so well will go on into another phase of its corporate life, even as she enters a new chapter of hers. There's rhythm all around us.
Such reflecting was made even deeper as I listened to the car radio en route only to hear of a 100-year-old lady who got married yesterday to a bridegroom in his seventies. The lady walked down the aisle to the Abba song Dancing Queen! At a time when most people might be thinking of endings here are a couple just beginning!
In a way I think of this time of year, autumn, not so much in terms of ending but resting. The trees around us have come into bud and as the length of each day of spring and early summer grew longer so they blossomed and flourished. For a long time these leaves remained green and soaked up valuable sunshine, feeding the trees on which they sat.
And now, after a riot of colour announcing their farewell, these same leaves fall to the ground and it’s as if the spinneys, copses and forests are beginning their long annual 'rest'. It's a rhythm which has been going on successfully and constantly for centuries and, although true biologists will be tearing their hair out reading such an unscientific description, I believe nature is a good teacher.
The rhythm of life and faith can never just be about blossoming and flourishing. We need those reflective seasons when we think it through, ponder it afresh, take a step back and 'rest'. Spring will come again but for now autumn is bidding.
'Rhythm' - it's a hard word to spell and perhaps an even harder idea to practise . Yet maybe, if we get better at the 'down time', the rhythm of life will teach us that 'autumn' moments are truly valuable and in the wider scheme of things will help us bear Spring blossom and Summer fruit.
Blog holiday next week!