On Monday, August 21st, I witnessed an awe inspiring celestial event – the Solar Eclipse. We were in Maine that day, and so we took our solar eclipse viewing glasses and beach chairs went to the beach. For a little more than 3 hours, we sat staring up at the sun through our protective glasses. Ten minutes, then twenty minutes went by, and we could begin to see the circle of the moon slowly getting bigger, covering up the sun. We would only see about 60% coverage from where we were, but it was still amazing. At the time of peak coverage, there was an eerie light at the beach, as though someone had turned down the dimmer switch and it actually got colder for a while. I decided that I would not ever again take for granted the power of the sun to light and warm our world. It is the gift of life.

The gift of life is very evident this time of year. Trees are filled with fruit, ripened by the sun and garden plants offer up their last vegetables to be picked. At this moment, my own kitchen counter is filled with tomatoes harvested from my tomato plants, just waiting for me to turn them into spaghetti sauce or to freeze them for use in the cold winter months ahead. I didn’t really do much to cause those tomatoes to be… just planting and watering and a little fertilizer. God and the sun did the rest.

The Fall season brings many changes to our day to day living. The movement of the earth and moon causes changes in our climate, our tides, and in the length of daylight hours. As we cycle through the seasons of the year, we experience the abundance of God’s gift of life, and it is so wonderful to reap the harvest, even as we prepare for the cold months ahead. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes chapter 3, which speaks of the seasons of life, and how there is a time for everything in God’s purpose. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…”

God’s mystery is present in all things, and our proper place is to stand in awe of its complexity; of its power; and of God’s continual impetus to always renew, refresh, and bring forth life. Awe is a proper sentiment as we consider our smallness in relation to the movement of planets and stars. Awe is what I feel when I stand at my stove and prepare food from the harvest for the coming winter months.

For everything there is indeed a season. And as people of faith, we trust in the words from the teacher of Ecclesiastes – that God’s purposes under heaven will have their time. God, the Creator of the planets and sun and all of life as we know it, is the only One who can see the big picture. We will never know God, but we can give thanks and praise for the warmth and light of the sun, and for the gift of life we receive, by God’s mercy and grace.

May you have a warm and blessed harvest!

Yours in Christ’s Service,
Reverend Linda C. Hey