Summer is coming to an end and Autumn is just around the corner and I can already see the changes coming. There was a gentle rain last evening and I awoke to dead leaves scattered on my lawn. Fresh tomatoes so abundantly available in June and July are long gone and their vines are withering away. The last bit of Summer crops are being harvested and preparations are being made to preserve them for Winter.
I was taking my dad to a doctor appointment recently and a question about sheep opened a time of reminiscing for him. He and his brother were children of a self-employed refrigeration man and a woman of many talents who worked at various companies in their community. My father’s grandparents lived on the family farm, handed down through many generations, better known as the old homestead.
Each year, on the last day of school, my grandparents would load Jack (my dad) and Philip (my uncle) in the car and they’d drive to the old homestead and farm where Jack and Phil would be left to plant and harvest for the Summer and Autumn. As my dad was describing his labors, I could picture him in his overalls and black leather ankle boots walking behind the mule with plow in hand. The vision of him pulling corn from the stalks and potatoes from the ground were vivid in my mind. There were no motorized or mechanical tractors or farm machines in the 1940’s. This was very labor-intensive farming. After the crops were harvested the boys would help grandma with the canning and preparation of vegetables to be stored in the root cellar so the family would have food for the Winter.
The story he told reminded me of Ruth, the widow, as she worked the fields picking up scraps and taking them to her mother-in-law Naomi so that they might be able to eat.
Ruth 2:2-3, Ruth the Moabitess asked Naomi, “Will you let me go into the fields and gather fallen grain behind someone who allows me to? Naomi answered her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So Ruth left and entered the filed to gather grain behind the harvesters. She happened to be in the portion of land belonging to Boaz, who was from Elimelech’s family.
Just as my dad worked from sun up to sun down; Ruth also worked from before sunrise and long after the sun slipped beneath the horizon. She had no basket or tools to help her harvest. She gathered the barley in the drape of her skirt. It was a very long walk to and from the fields every day and the barley she gathered weighed her down, but she did what she had to do to take care of Naomi, her family; just as my father was doing as a child so the family could eat during the Winter months.
Autumn is a picture of change, preservation and death. Many things in God’s creation will die in Autumn and lead into Winter. We see the leaves change into beautiful colors only to die a short while later. We see fox seek refuge in hollow trees that have fallen and left to rot. Bugs die and birds die or fly away.
We humans begin layering our clothes with sweaters and scarves and heavier covering when Winter arrives. We tend to take cover inside as much as possible only going outside when necessary.
I love to hear the wind blow, watch the squirrels gather nuts, scurry across the yard and climb up the trees; all in preparation for the next season.
This is so much like the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. During Christ’s life, He is preparing his disciples for the mission the Father set for Him. And when the time comes, He is beaten, scourged, spat on, humiliated and hung on a cross where He dies. But, He rises three days later, as He promised. All to give us new life. Hallelujah!!!
Yes, Autumn is a wonderful time. Changes are visible, and beautiful. And we have Spring to look forward to—a time of new birth; very much like Christ offers to us when we accept Him believing that He died on the cross for our sins and that we will have new life and everlasting life with Him.John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Written by Annette Burrell