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To the Saints that are in Los Osos,
Once again it’s October. The weather is turning cooler… except here on the Central Coast where it will probably be warmer than our July and August. Children are back in school and settling into their academic routines. Halloween is in the stores, (hooray!), but so is Christmas, (too early).
Did you know that October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, American Pharmacist Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month? It is also paradoxically National Vegetarian Month and Eat Country Ham Month. To some, October means visits to Pumpkin Patches, Hay Rides, and Corn Mazes. For others the standout is Oktoberfest. For many, it is the World Series. And of course, it is the time for Pumpkin Spice everything. Of course, there are numerous designated special days. October 24 is United Nations Day, and a shout out to Rachel’s mother, Leatrice Thurston, on the 28th for Mother-in-law day. And of course, capping the month is Halloween, (again…, hooray!)
October is also our Stewardship Campaign month. In a few days, you should be getting the first of this year’s stewardship letters. I’ve always heard about people who say, “the church is always asking for money.” In thirty-eight years of ordained ministry, I’ve actually rarely heard anyone say it. I have a clergy colleague who maintains that the church doesn’t talk about money often enough. Whether or not that’s true, I do know that most of the clergy I know are uncomfortable around the question of asking for support of their church’s ministries. I know that I am I usually am. I will be sending a letter to follow the one you’ll be receiving soon from our Finance Committee, so I’m not going to talk more about stewardship here.
Since I was a small child this time of year, from October through November has always been my favorite. In San Diego where I grew up these months were definitely cooler than the summer months. I was fascinated by the changing colors on the few trees that actually changed color. Our common word for this season, “Fall,” quite literally comes from the falling of the leaves. Surprisingly, we don’t know where the word, “Autumn,” comes from. Americans tend to use the word, “fall,” while British English almost always uses, “autumn.” Prior to the 1600’s, however, the season between summer and winter was called simply, “harvest.” It was when people began to move away from the land and into the cities that the word changed.
As I’ve gotten older I appreciate the autumn for the transition it is and represents, and the older word, “harvest,” resonates with me. Summer is the time when food grows, winter is the time when food must be taken from storage, but harvest is when food is brought from the fields. “All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.” In harvest, the promises of summer are fulfilled. At harvest, there is still much to do. It is a time of life and activity even though the leaves are falling and the plants are fading.
I am in
the autumn of my years, so this has greater and evolving meaning for me. I have
always cherished this season, but I do so even more now. Hopefully, I am in the
time of harvesting what I have planted and grown in my life, my family and my
relationships. This harvest will be stored away for the winter times that are
coming… but in the meantime, harvest is also a time for feasting and rejoicing
in God’s bounty. As always, I look forward to enjoying this Autumn.
See you in church,