Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Autumn transitions

I was struck by reading the notes for Autumn in the Lutheran worship planning guide, Sundays and Seasons.
The seasons are marked by cycles of reversals: the stars shift in the sky; the natural world finds new ways of living. Likewise, school's days begin or end, new calendar years are established, old patterns of living are undertaken. A cabin might be closed for the winter, new windows put up on the house, clothing styles changed—these are marks of a shifting and transitional time. (p. 288)
Here in So Cal, the hot summer weather kicks into high gear for a last hurrah. However, in spite of the weather, subtle changes can be seen, notably the shortening of daylight hours.

The theme of transition is looked at slightly differently in the notes for preaching, which muse that "we get several fresh, new starts at life per year." (p. 291) For many in the Christian tradition, Autumn is the winding down of the church year with Advent (this year, November 28) beginning a new liturgical year. However, in Judaism and for Christian groups that follow a Jewish calendar, Autumn is the beginning of the year with Rosh Hashanah followed by Yom Kippur. The civic New Year arrives on January 1, and then, later, the Chinese New Year.

I sometimes get frustrated with how out of sync all these endings and beginnings are. But I like the idea of being able at least to acknowledge the opportunity for several new beginnings.

Right on cue, Autumn (in spite of the weather) is lining up to be a season of transition for me. I have formally withdrawn from my academic program for a period of time, and my change of status request from part-time to full-time at work is making its way through the required approval levels. I'm glad, finally, to have come to a decision, although my feelings around these changes have an autumnal melancholic tinge to them.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, the situation at my church is in transition with the pastor leaving soon.

Cycles of reversals.

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