Family Liturgies

God in the Leaves

Photo by:  Greg Karpoff

Photo by: Greg Karpoff

Jennifer DiFrancesco

Prayer:
Autumn God, as our planet rotates and the earth signals a change, we sense a change in the seasons. We see shorter days and weather reports about frost, and crops are being harvested. Looking ahead to the changes brings mixed feelings. Help us to remain open during these “seasons” of change to your love and grace. And may we ask for and give thanks in all times for your guiding presence. Amen.

(adapted from a prayer by Marilyn Naylor)

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. [God] has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Memory Verse:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!” ~Hebrews 13:8

Reflection:
The book of Ecclesiastes is one of the Books of Wisdom in the Bible. It literally means “teacher.” In these pages, the writer shares the many things that he has done to find happiness, wisdom, and pleasure. Instead of feeling hopeful, at times he felt more hopeless.

The priest and scholar Lawrence Boadt says, “While admitting that God does direct all things, he insists that we cannot know what God is doing or why, and so our proper human response is to enjoy what God gives us now and use it the best we can.”

October is a season of change. The leaves in Baltimore and many parts of the country are just starting to turn their beautiful shades of reds, oranges, yellow, and brown. Our summer is finally fading into autumn and soon that will fade into winter. The seasons always change.

Most of the changes I love experiencing: crisp mornings, beautiful colors complimenting our brightly painted houses in Charles Village (my neighborhood), and delicious apples. And yet many of these seasonal changes remind us of literal darkness. For even as the leaves changes and the smells of apples and cinnamon waft, it gets darker earlier. There seemingly is always good mixed in with not-so-good. Like the changes in season, we also experience changes in our lives. Some fall in rhythmic pattern and others come or happen to us without warning.

But the seasons don’t change how much God loves and cares for us. God’s love for us remains constant. Not matter what happens or when, God is always there to guide, carry, and laugh with us in the seasons of our lives. God is always there.

Questions to Spark Conversation:

What is your favorite season? Do you think our favorite seasons change as we grow up?

What changes have you experienced recently?

Wonder question: How do you think God felt when God made creation?

Spiritual Practice:
There are lots of awesome fall activities that can be or become spiritual practices. My daughters love picking up fallen leaves on their walk to and from school, so we are always looking for a way to display God’s handiwork. Besides leaf rubbings and ironing them between wax paper with crayon shavings, we’ve enjoyed making leaf people. It’s a craft quite popular on Pinterest.

What you will need:
Autumn leaves— it works best if they are already dried/flattened.
Googly eyes
Sharpie markers–as most on Pinterest note, the metallic sharpies work best.
Glue
Glitter—-why is it that glitter makes everything so much more fun for kids (and my worst nightmare)
A place that you don’t mind get a little (or a lot messy)

Directions:
1) Have fun creating your leaf people, pets, and !! Create yourself, your pet, your principal, whatever you like. Let your God- given creativity go wild as you celebrate God’s beautiful creation with this craft.

2) Use your creative art to remind you to give thanks for this season and God’s never-ceasing, never changing love for us.

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