Monday, November 18, 2013

The Spirituality of Autumn

On our arrival in London, we found the roads carpeted with light golden leaves. Soon the tree branches will be standing bare in winter. It was a graphic depiction of the Lenten Spirituality that I was reading in the devotional, A Well Worn Path, by Dan Wilt. Christians, according to him, are a people called to live in Lent which means “to lengthen our days.” He made the point that our days can be very long when our wayward hearts are tested with inner wrestling and turmoil so that our faith can be proved to be genuine.

The falling leaves in autumn teach us that there are many things in our lives, both good and bad, that we need to let go if we are truly seeking God’s Presence in our lives. The season of autumn draws our attention to the need to let the Spirit of God examine our hearts, our motives and our thoughts that are keeping us from an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is a time to make room in our hearts for Christ as we prepare for the season of Advent.

The good news of Advent is that God became man in Jesus Christ so that we can become more Christ like, not by our own efforts but by being reborn again in the power of the Holy Spirit through our faith in Christ. But so often we are tempted to make God in our own image. We want to live our lives in our own ways and to fulfill our own desires. We are more interested in finding answers to our problems rather than seeking God through our problems.

Rebecca Kruyswijk noted that it is simple to hand out godly advice with a spiritual air, to speak wise words about past failings and to talk about personal growth. But she reminds us that our real problem is not our desire to follow Jesus but our competitive nature and our pride. There is a spiritual war within each one of us which we can only win because of what Christ has done and through the Spirit’s work in us.

The spirituality of autumn is a Lenten spirituality – a time for reflection and repentance. It is a time to examine our failures as well as our successes and reflect on how they have drawn us closer or further away from God. In times when we feel that our world has come to an end, we can remember that “just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

The good news is that Love Came Down At Christmas. Let us prepare our hearts to receive the good news by spending time with God in prayer and meditation.

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