Heard us on the radio?
This month, we’ve been partnering with 98Five Sonshine FM to bring you some new spots where we’ve been thinking about the changing of the seasons. We’ve come up with some short reflections to share with you, we hope they bring a breath of life, hope and courage into your daily routine. Here are they are in written form, in case you want to take a closer look. Have feedback? Click here to get in touch, or come by and visit us at our beautiful campus.
Pain and New Life
As the seasons change and we step into autumn we notice a tension. All around us in nature we see the first signs of death…, but even in death, nature is still beautiful. There is an opportunity here to reflect on our own lives and begin make sense of things that may be dying that often come with feelings of great pain, or suffering but may also be showing up as beauty in all sorts of unexpected ways. All the way through the Gospel’s Jesus gives us the impression that in order for new life to emerge, something must give way. We see this most clearly with the collision of both tragedy and beauty on the cross – death giving way to resurrection life. As we spend time reflecting on things in our life that often represent such painful tragedy, I pray that we would also be attentive to the beauty that often emerges out of it.
As the seasons change we are presented with a natural opportunity to step back and reimagine the landscape of our lives. I don’t know about you but as the leaves fall and the temperature starts to cool I begin to feel as if the world all around me entering a season of preparation for the long winter months ahead. In this season I like to take time to step away from the busyness of life – even if just for a moment – and prepare for what might be lying ahead. Jesus often spent time retreating away from the crowds, the expectations on him and the busyness of community life. If you find yourself in a season that feels full of activity and expectations, hear the invitation this autumn to slow down in step with the rhythms of the world around you, and recalibrate your soul.
As we notice the seasons changing, we are offered an opportunity to reflect on how we navigate changes in our lives. Losing a job, moving away from home, having a new baby, facing a chronic illness; most of us will face several major changes in the course of our lives. In our social-media saturated world, it can be really tempting to put the right kind of filter, spin and language on to those moments to show that we are rolling with the punches like the champions we want to be seen as. But the truth is, that often a polished public appearance is hiding an excruciatingly difficult private reality. Authenticity means living out of what is real and true for us even in times of transition, and this takes great courage, and opens us up to great risk. But in the end, the authentic life is the only life worth living.
As we notice the seasons changing, it makes me think about the experience of liminal space, which is like standing on the threshold of an open door; having left one room, but not yet entered the next. American author Mary Gordon has said that ‘Waiting is the great vocation of the dispossessed.’ The liminal space experience is actually an invitation to transformation as we are forced to encounter our own limitations; and face up to the fact that at the end of the day, we have control over almost nothing. This can be both freeing, and terrifying. Waiting is how we make space for our soul to breathe in that place, and how we finally become open to learning what Jesus called ‘the unforced rhythms of grace’. If you find yourself today between seasons; having left one, and not yet begun the other; look around for the gift that is waiting for you in the liminal space; you might be surprised at what you find.
Hi, I’m Brian Harris from Vose Seminary. I turn 60 this year. I find it hard to believe and still think of myself as 30 something, but apparently I’m the only one who does. The years have slipped along doing things I enjoy and I’m grateful for good memories, fabulous family, worthwhile work and loyal friends. Developmental psychologist Erik Erickson has said the challenge of the season I find myself in now is to embrace generativity or stagnation. In other words, will I work to make my life count and grow gracefully into the wisdom-years ahead? Or decide that my best years are now behind me and that I no longer have anything to offer?. I’m opting for growth with the gentle confidence that the Bible’s instruction to ‘number our days to gain a heart of wisdom’ affirms that whatever our life stage there is important work for us to do and something to celebrate.
A Moment of Time…
It is said that the first Queen Elizabeth said on her death bed “And all my possessions for a moment of time”. It’s a haunting plea, and a vivid reminder to embrace the “now” of our life. Now is the time to love our children, befriend our neighbours, and to do the good we can. In one of Jesus’ many remarkable statements he said that one day we will give account for every word we have spoken. He wasn’t doing the Gestapo on us – trying to trick us up, or catch us out. Rather he was being deeply philosophical. Life is made up of all the casual words and actions which we have spoken and done – or not done. In the end it adds up to our life – moments seized or moments squandered. Now is our little moment of time. Seize the day.