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Summer’s End

August 19, 2017

I am enjoying the warm and the wet of August. I am also soaking up the subtle changes in the air. The first whiffs of autumn that creep in, only half noticed. The weather is warm still, and there are still flowers in the garden. But the autumn fruits are ripe; the apple trees are laden with sweet fruit and the blackberries are enticing. August makes the passing of summer a pleasant thing. The turning year brings hope and each season has its joys. Without change there could be no growth, no fruit, no variety, no life. So change must be good no matter how much I might like to linger over a particular time or place.

I smell the spiritual changes in the air too. I see new people taking the first tentative steps of faith, and those established in the faith growing if love. I hear new ideas and wonder what will be next. Change in a church can be good and natural too. I find that in these rural churches health growth does not tend to come from dismissing the past and trying to start anew. No, healthy growth seems to come best when supported and nourished by the deep roots of faith established by those who have gone before. Growth in the country church seems to be more organic than for our more urban cousins. Growth may be less dramatic, but has the steady rightness of the flowers of summer growing into the rich fruits of autumn.

I look at my autumn churches and smile. I see growth, and I see ripening fruits. I know there is spiritual health and vitality in the English countryside, with exciting times to come. Just wait and see!

A poem from Vivienne Tuffnell:

Summer’s End

I have seen the stars fall
Piercing the clouds
With brief bright flames
White-hot and evanescent.
I have watched the moon rise
Pared to a mouse-nibbled cheese
By sunlit, lazy days
Of parched grass and airless nights.
I have felt the dew form
Heavier than rain, breaking
Drowned cobwebs with
Swollen crystal drops.
I have breathed the night wind
Laden with day-lost scents
Waiting only for the chill
Of dark descending.
I have heard the dip and splash
And beak-full calls
Of kingfisher, sweet surprise,
Where none were known to be.
And I have smelled Autumn air,
Fungal and fruitful fragrant
Amid leaf litter and windfalls

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