This weekend a dear friend and mentor allowed for me to borrow her cabin in Monteagle, TN. About 1.5 hours from Nashville, it is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the US — including Fiery Gizzard Trail. I went for recreation, to spend time with myself, and start a book I've been meaning to read for the past few weeks. I arrived mid afternoon and walked along the Sewanee Perimeter Trail. I noticed that most of the leaves on the trees were still green — but the ones on the ground had accepted their fall colors.
The leaves reminded me of a prayer I stumbled upon looking for help writing my own pastoral prayer for this coming Sunday:
“O God of all the changing world,
we pray on this October morning for your guidance.
The leaves have begun to clatter on their branches,
clinging to their summer hold
yet gazing earthward,
amorous of the ground below
and its quiet embrace.”
I grew up in Florida -- so most of my images of changing leaves come from catalogues hoping to convince the viewer to purcase coats, sweaters, and scarves. I thought of my own clinging to summer — afraid of the winter’s cold — yet knowing that “times they are a changin’.”
In a world where "forwards and up" are given way more attention more than "backwards and down" it's no wonder I live my life like the green leaves afraid to fall to the earth's "embrace." This Sunday we focus on the question: "Do you love me more than these?" Am I willing to let go of "these" and fall to the ground below trusting in the embrace of the one who loved me first? Are you?