It’s at this time of year when, say, out with the dog, we enjoy the late summer sun on our faces, and then realise that there was a slight chill in the air, a twinge in the shoulder, and that September and Autumn are upon us. And although it is sad always to say goodbye to summer (“What summer?” I hear you cry), I have to admit that I have a preference for Autumn. In fact, I would say that it is my favourite season.
Perhaps I share that with Keats, whose Ode to Autumn comes to mind each year:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun.
His poem reminds us that it is at this time of year that much fruit comes to its glorious best. “And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core.” It’s the time of year for blackberrying in the woods near our house. At the time of writing it looks like a good crop. This fruitfulness of September and early Autumn reminds us of God’s goodness, His abundance and our complete reliance on it.
And as the season turns and there is that chill in the air, it’s also a new season, a new start for children and young people in our parishes and across the land – a new school, a new school year, college, University, or the world of work. Many will be returning after exam results that may or may not have met their hopes, thus carrying on with plans or having to think again about their future.
As all parents know, the start of a new academic year brings challenges of different kinds – the academic ones, the sartorial ones, friendships – to name but a few.
So, September is a time of change for many. And these turnings of annual cycles serve to remind us that change is the natural state of things. At this time of year we see change as things coming into fruition and as new challenges and opportunities. These seasonal changes are thus excellent opportunities for each one of us to reflect and pray. At this seasonal change we might ask ourselves what is coming to fruition in my life? What new challenges lie ahead? What changes in my life and life around me will I welcome and which will I adjust to? As the world changes around me, how will I change so that I can continue to witness to the greatness of God and to His grace in Jesus?