Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One of the major benefits of living in Wisconsin is the change of seasons. There was a time when autumn was my favorite season, but as time marches on, I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of all the seasons!
The more I observe nature, both from afar and up close, the more I continue to be utterly amazed at the beauty of God’s creation. From the vast multitude of stars in the night sky to the tiniest plants and insects, we are surrounded by beauty and mystery that shouts out God’s presence… when we take time to observe and encounter it!
We’re all familiar with maple trees, but in the weeks leading up to the big fall ‘colorama’ there’s a lot more going on than just leaves turning colors and falling to the ground. When we take a closer look, we see that tiny, compact buds have appeared. These are the buds of new life that will transform into leaves next spring. As part of this process, the branch begins to ‘seal off’ the base of the maple leaf. After the leaf has nothing left to hang on to, gravity takes over and the leaf begins its final journey to the ground.
Jesus often referred to nature in his parables. He spoke of grape vines, mustard seeds, and grains of wheat. It seems to me that there is a parable buried within the bud on the branch of a maple tree. We could think about the newly appearing bud as our personal growth in virtue. As goodness grows within us, God helps us to ‘seal off’ the roots of bad habits and poor decisions. Eventually, these vices have nothing left to hang on to in our lives, and they gently drift away like a leaf falling from a tree.
“Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them. Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice.” ~Psalm 96:11-12