It’s fall here in western Michigan, and that means falling leaves…lots of them! In cities and larger towns, there are leaf “pick up” schedules. Trucks come along at appointed times to pick up leaves that have been raked and piled up by the roadside or placed (along with other yard waste, sticks and such) into waste bins. In smaller towns and around the countryside, leaves will be raked, piled up and burned or placed in compost heaps and bins. In a few cases, leaves will be left where they fall or are carried by the wind until the snow covers them, to be rediscovered in the spring when the snow melts off.
Falling leaves are part of the cycle of every year. They announce the advent of autumn, delighting us with their colors for a few short weeks. But when that task is done, they fall beneath our feet to be stepped on, swept up, burned up or forgotten. Gone are the memories of shoots and buds blooming in the spring, or rich green leaves shading us from the intense heat and light of summer. Leaves are ephemeral. They pass out of memory and time, their swirling colors lost in a heap of crunchy detritus underfoot.
People are not leaves. We share the same creator, but God has placed eternity in the minds, hearts, and souls of humankind. Whether we are blooming, changing color, falling, or being swept aside in this world, God will gather us all in a great harvest of souls. But we will not be turned to ash or mulched into compost. We face an eternal destiny; one where our true “colors” will be permanent, and our placement fixed. We will either be raised to vibrant life, attached to the source of life and abundance; or we will be eternally “fallen”, swept away by judgment and guilt and the consequences of rebellion.
That may sound harsh and dramatic, but it is written in our soul–we feel it as we watch the withering leaves let go of the tree or smell the acrid of the burn pile. We feel the pain and injustice of people being treated like no more than dead leaves– swept away as just another inconvenience.
Today, I want to look for fallen leaves–we are all “fallen” from Grace, but some have also “fallen” through the cracks or by the wayside–look for people and seek ways I can pray for, reach out to, and offer Hope and Grace, especially to those whom life has swept aside. Someone did it for me…Now it’s time to pass it forward. It’s time to turn over a new “leaf”. Let’s not “leave” the job unfinished–“branch” out beyond our comfort zone and bring in some leaves this autumn!