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All change

"He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning." Daniel 2.21

Change is in the air. The grass now grows less quickly, the weeds once plucked are slower to return, there is sharpness in the morning air, berries are ripening at last and the colour on the moorland is fading from vibrant green to russet and purple. Amazing how closely this turning of the seasons matches the monthly cycle from August into September!

There is poignancy in moving from the seemingly endless days of summer into autumn, with its shorter days and longer nights, chillier temperatures and stronger winds. There is beauty here too: colour and harvest and the excitement of a new academic session. Yet this year more than ever, optimism has been tempered by dread - of an unprecedented hike in energy prices, exacerbating a cost of living crisis which is already beginning to bite, as is the effect of strike action from seemingly every walk of life (except diplomats and clergy).

Comparisons are invidious but that should not stop us recognising that there are many whose suffering is as bad and worse - in Ukraine, Pakistan and Burma, to name but a few places where this might be the case. No wonder many are wondering if the end of the world is nigh?

Yet that has been the case since Jesus ascended, promising that he would soon return to complete the world's redemption by bring heaven to earth and ushering in God's new creation. The delay does not mean that God is late or that he has forgotten for, as Creator, he exists outside of his creation (which includes time). The Bible makes two things clear: Jesus will return at just the right time ,which could be at any moment so we must live in a state of permanent readiness; also that there is meaning in our referring to this interval as the "age of grace" because it is as if God is propping open the door to allow the full complement of penitent sinners to receive his free gift of eternal life through Jesus.

The changing season reminds us that the time is nearer than ever. That this particular season is autumn, reminds us that there is a harvest to be gathered...



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