Caroline Noll, Associate Pastor and Pastor for Children and Families

Fall is actually here! At least on paper. All August, friends kept saying, “I can’t wait for September!” My thought was, why? Do you remember September in Texas? It doesn’t feel a whole lot different than August.

But now the State Fair is here! I remember mom used to say that the weather always changes sometime during the fair.

One of my favorite parts of welcoming fall is the changing colors of the leaves. Other parts of the country are famous for their fall foliage, but I’m content with the few bursts of color in our neighborhood and on my drive to church.

A giant tree on the corner of our street slowly changes from yellow to orange to brilliant red. There’s another we named the “James and the Giant Peach” tree because of its shape and color. Smaller scarlet trees and the golden confetti from our cedar elms … I enjoy them all.

I wonder how it came to be that some trees keep their green leaves and needles and others undergo such transformation from year to year.

Some trees and plants seem only to grow and grow until very old age or disease finally set in, and others continually renew and transform with the seasons.

How did this come to be?

If one had only ever lived among evergreens, what would they think the first time a mighty oak or pecan began to shed what seemed like every green and growing thing from its branches?

Would they panic? Would they be puzzled? Would they worry? Would their hopes for growth, resources and shade diminish? Maybe.

But you and I have not only lived among evergreens.

We have experienced many aspects of God’s spectacular creation: its wonders, its mysteries, its beauty, and its decay.

We have enjoyed times of planting, times of growth, seasons of heat and drought, the delight and surprise of the changing of seasons, and the cold and gray of winter.

I don’t know what season you are experiencing. What I do know is, whatever season you are in, it is not the last. There is no last season.

Creation doesn’t go in a line, beginning in spring and ending in winter. Creation begins and ends and begins again. New creation! It is true for nature, it is true for you and me, and it is true for our church.

Those little golden leaves collecting on my sidewalk bring me joy and hope. Those leaves have served their purpose well.

When they fall, the tree may look bare for a season, but the branches still reach high into the sky. They join together in a solid and strong trunk which connects them to their deep and far reaching roots.

And from those roots new life will grow. May it be so with you, with me, with us.

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