The leaves are falling quickly now, heaps of russets, gold and brown lie in the shelter of the church walls, blown around in swirling clouds once in the shelter of the church walls they come to rest, the wind is seemingly powerless to pick them up again; finally they have come to rest.
There is a sadness about Autumn, the Festivals of All Souls and All Saints seem appropriately placed in this season. The nights are dark and the deeper stillness of winter is drawing closer… but yet, soon the night skies will be a ablaze with the returning of the bright winter constellations… and Christmas Bells, candle light and carols will peal out, shine out and sing out the Joy of the birth of a Saviour, born to wipe away every tear and to make all things new.
It seems to me that ‘we have to sit under the Tree of Life, to learn its wisdom.’
When in Italy on holiday, I was amazed at the number of ‘Trees of Life’ to be found in practically every old, and great garden to keep alive literally the memories of the families to whom these houses belong, and to tell the story of Adam and Eve and the great fall…
To me the Lord Jesus is the Tree of Life and I need to sit under his shade and drink in his teachings and words, often I can see, but not entirely explain, a connection between the thought picture I have of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John sitting under the shade of this mighty tree and the large, stone font in the Church Baptistery which is carved on its four sides with the symbols of Ox, Lion, man and eagle. The evangelists have their 4 faces turned out into the world to the north, south, east and west they speak 4 Gospels but the 4 Gospels are One Word.
It is from this One Word that we are born again and from the 4th evangelist we hear the heart of the matter we have to be grafted into the Tree/Vine that is Christ to bear its fruit, and that fruit has Christ’s seed, and life in it…. and that life is eternal.
“I am the vine; you are the branches, if you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15.v.5).
I believe this is true. All our best endeavours, our brightest, shiniest hopes and deeds one day will come spiralling down as leaves in autumn winds … but the fruit which we bore in Christ and in the spirit will remain and so will we, with Christ forever.