By Pastor Travis Lauterbach, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and Mesquite Lutheran Church (Vacancy Pastor)
While on a recent vacation across the country, a realization dawned on me. I leaned over and told my wife, “I hate Fall.”
We drove across Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan looking at the leaves. In southern Michigan that’s more of an October thing, but sure enough in early September the leaves were-a-changing.
The Midwest had an unusually cool summer. Thus, the season of Fall started to arrive sooner.
I admit that there’s something beautiful about the changing colors of the leaves. Different shades of reds, yellows, oranges, browns, and greens create an amazing kaleidoscope. I certainly understand why people love Fall.
Nevertheless, I stand by my comment. I hate Fall.
If I may sound morbid and somber for a minute. (Although, I consider it acknowledging reality.)
I hate Fall because it’s another trumpet of death. It’s a reminder built into the world itself: “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
Especially in northern climates, with the first color change of Fall comes the first hint of death. Soon all the trees will be barren of their lush, growing, green leaves. In a moment, the grass will turn a deathly color, all the flowers will be gone, and many animals will nap a long winter.
Fall is the first sign of the end of yet another cycle of seasons, the first sign of the year’s death. I’d never put much thought into it before, but I suppose that’s why they refer to the last years of a person’s life as the autumn years.
And so to me, there’s a bit of a sadness about Fall. After all, I hate death. I hate that it takes family and friends, parishioners and strangers, young and old. Death is, as St. Paul says, “The last enemy to be destroyed.” (1 Corinthians 15:26)
And yet, I look Fall in the face, even as I anticipate the green, flowery growth of Spring, reminding me of new life.
Likewise, despite death, I anticipate the resurrection of the dead and eternal life. “For the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:23)