Monday, September 16, 2013

Autumnal Equipoise

While the calendar may have the next season beginning later in the week, yesterday and today up here on the prairie are giving us a taste of things to come.  It's been cool, even crisp.  Yesterday was damp, but today is sunny, the sky the kind of blue you see in early fall and mid-spring.  One of the hummingbird moths that frequent our flowering hostas got in our garage yesterday.  By late afternoon, it had moved from the ceiling to the back door.  I gently removed it from the door and set it on one of the plants outside.  It sat for a few minutes, then took off, feeding at our hostas again.

There is something marvelous about autumn.  Last week we had a blast of hot, humid air, reminding us that summer wasn't quite over.  Now, though, it feels like things are settling in as they should this time of year.  The languor of summer is passing, the busyness of fall has begun and now, at last, the weather is making such busyness feel a bit less like a burden.  Daylight hours shorten, the year's twilight reminding us the cool sleep of winter is coming soon.

As I write this post about the peacefulness of the onrushing seasonal change, the situation at the Washington Navy Yard is still unfolding.  Ten people shot, with reports of 2 to 4 people dead.  How many have died in Syria's intramural slaughter while the world dithers over one type of weapon, leaving tens of thousands of other deaths of seeming less importance, beneath the world's need to act?  How many children have died of curable diseases because nation-states and multinational pharmaceutical companies refuse to provide cheap preventive medications to poor populations around the world?  How many people have died from gun violence over the past 24 hours right here in the United States?

The reality of death and violence makes me uncomfortable with my own sense of peace and ease in this time of seasonal change.  I cannot ignore the immense privilege that grants me space and time to reflect on this bubble of peacefulness around me.  I cannot ignore the reality of pain and suffering around me because it harshes my mellow.  An full and honest accounting of autumnal equipoise would include the reality that I cannot rest within this space of quiet rest, but move out in to this world so beloved of God, a world so broken by sin and death there is no safe place for far too many, no peace and quiet for billions of God's children.

I understand Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration, that desire to build a tent and stay forever in the presence that is so full of beauty and peace.  That, however, is not our lot.  The world is not yet that Mount.  It's our job to drag it there, kicking and screaming if need be.  Such is the real equipoise of autumn: The hope and promise that what is reality for me can be for others.  It isn't  about me giving up anything.  It's about others, indeed the whole world, having the opportunity to experience this same space and time.

That is our calling.  That's what we're to be about.  The Gospel message is meaningless if we aren't living out God's abundance with the world.

Virtual Tin Cup

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