This beautiful hymn that always takes my heart to Ireland and makes me long to walk the hills and see the land that inspired so many saints, came unbidden into my mind as I walked Cokie this morning. Walking in the beauty of the cool morning, with the leaves just turning gold clacking in the breeze… I was thinking how much I love fall… hardy chrysanthemums… sunflowers becoming seed for the birds… wood smoke in the air…the blue sky with that crispness that is unique to October… the need for a sweater or shawl before the walk with Cokie! … cool nights and warm days… the last tomatoes and delicious Macintosh apples… yum! In fact, I’d be hard pressed to name something I don’t like about fall.
So I bring to the readings for October a predisposition to love them. But when I look at October’s gospel selections, I cannot avoid dealing with the one part of fall that lurks be- neath the surface of the beautiful readings: change. Change to New Life, Yes…
But Change, nonetheless. And Change is rarely easy. Beginning with Jesus blessing the little children in the first lesson of the month, and ending with Jesus healing the blind man at the end of the month, the gospel lessons will call us to remember to look to Jesus for healing, compassion, and living in the moment, in amidst all of the challenges and changes and vagaries of life.
As we come to the end of the liturgical year, our readings reflect that in this life, there are surely many sorrows, difficulties that assail us. But they also remind us that we are in God’s hands, and God will bring us through it. Our job is to retain our vision and hope and to persevere, and to remind one another that whatever the circumstances in which we find ourselves, God is with us. Secure in that hope, we may see and be thankful for the blessings present in the here and now.
Here at St. Philip in the Field, as we begin with Youth Sunday and the Blessing of Animals, and end with remembering the saints who have left us in this earthly life, but await us in the eternal life, I pray that we will remind one another with love, kindness, and gentleness, to hold on to the vision of the Lord of our Hearts, finding there, every day, hope and love and peace.
… Heart of my heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Peace and Grace be with you,