Each season serves its own purpose


At the end of August, I was playing pickleball at Blue Limestone Park. I took a pause between points and looked up. There I spied a sky so blue, so clear that I could not look away. Pressed against that beauty was the deep green of a mature tree in full stature. The colors were rich and compelling to the eye. A swelling began to build in me, one I could not contain. My heart began to overflow. I found myself worshipping God.

Since then, I have been thinking about God’s artistry. We have the privilege of walking amidst God’s living painting every day. Every breath we take is filled with the God’s creative Spirit. If we breath deep enough and with intentional regularity, we have the opportunity to be filled with the new life God wants for us.

Autumn is my favorite season. This year, because I seem to be more aware God’s color palette, I am struck by the variety of reds, oranges and yellows. During the day, as the wind picks up, the colors dance and swirl around in such elegant beauty. I remain in awe.

In years past, I have grieved the falling of these gorgeous leaves. I know what is ahead. The trees and bushes will become empty. The shade they once offered will now be pierced by the sun’s light. We are more exposed.

Humans have a tendency to divide things. We prefer this over that. Something is a favorite, or least favorite. We love or hate. There is something in us that feels comfortable in the either-or world. This type of behavior limits our life experience. If I only like autumn, what about winter or spring? Are they nothing? Not to God!

Every area of our world has its own particular climate and set of seasons. This is intentional on God’s part. My daughter felt drawn to live in the Northwest, however her soul did not mesh well with the overwhelming amount of dreary days. When she moved to the Southeast, she found that it was lifegiving for her.

For me, I am drawn to God’s four seasons. They are very intentional times for me. I used to really “like” one season and “dread” another. Now as I walk in the fluidity of God’s creation, I recognize that each season has a spiritual purpose.

Spring and autumn are first and foremost huge reminders that there are beginnings and endings. Spring is the time of birth and new life. Autumn is the season of letting go. In spring, the world gets to start over fresh. In autumn, we are invited to let go of that which is no longer lifegiving.

Summer is the season of growth. That which is planted becomes rooted and fruitful. Winter is the season that gets the most complaints and yet is a vital part of the life cycle. Once we have walked the season of autumn, shedding all that is no longer lifegiving, fruitful and necessary, we make our way into winter. Winter is the time for rest and rejuvenation. It appears stark and empty and yet it is anything but that.

During the winter season, we are invited like the bear to slow down, nestle in, and be present where we are. Having shed those autumn leaves that are no longer needed, we open ourselves up to God’s regenerative, restorative love.

Friends, autumn is not yet complete. There are more leaves to be shed from the trees and from our souls. I want to invite you to walk the remainder of autumn open to God’s pruning. Let go of whatever is getting in the way of living a joy filled, faithful, loving life.

Then when winter arrives, welcome it open and prepared for God’s Spirit to do its healing, restorative work within you. Then when spring comes, I think you will be surprised.


Rev. Deb Patterson

Your Pastor Speaks

Rev. Deb Patterson is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Delaware.

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