By Rev Mercia Malcolm
‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!’ This year the last weeks of September and first of October for me brought that line from John Keats’ poem ‘To Autumn’ strongly to mind.
We certainly had both the days of heavy mist, and also some wonderful sunny days when the mellow fruitfulness of autumn was much in evidence. I was even able to benefit from that with windfall apples and blackberries to produce a few great pies and crumbles.
I know that for many people spring is the favourite season, but I have always loved autumn and not just because I have an October birthday. I love the crispness of the days and the crispness of autumn leaves which the eternal child in us all can enjoy kicking into the air. Even the nip in the air that warns us winter is coming can be a delight, bringing a healthy glow to the cheeks and encouraging us to be as active as possible in the fresh autumn days.
Of course by the time you read this, the weather may have so deteriorated that late October feels closer to winter, but at least the month started well.
In the rhythm of the church’s year, autumn is usually marked with harvest thanksgiving services when we remember God’s goodness and his continued blessing of this amazing planet we all share. It is important each year to recognise that the good things we enjoy come ultimately from God and to respond with thankfulness for all His gifts. That is another one of autumn’s joys for me, as it reminds us that harvest is not just about physical bounty but about the spiritual harvest God also wants to bring in our lives.
When we give thanks for the physical blessings the bounty of autumn brings, it can prompt us to reflect on what God wants to do in our lives and in our communities to make his spiritual fruit more evident. St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians that ‘the fruit of (God’s) Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.’ As we rejoice in autumn glories, may we allow God also to grow in us the glorious fruit of His Spirit.