ARTICLE FOR CHURCH NEWSPAPERS ~ September 2017
Making our mark with God
– by Julia Beacroft
WE NATURALLY CONSIDER the first day of January to be a new beginning and the commencement of a time when anything could happen. It's the start of a new year when we make all kinds of promises to ourselves (and often fail to keep!).
Yet personally I’ve always experienced very similar feelings and emotions when September rolls around each year. After the long lazy days of summer, autumn arrives with a hint of crispness in the air. Education restarts then, in schools, colleges and universities and in fact all kinds of courses and programmes burst forth at this time.
BACK TO SCHOOL
For Mums this re-commencement is usually marked by digging out the children’s school uniform to see what fits and what doesn’t – (for me it always came as a shock to see how short trousers and sleeves had become during the six weeks holiday) – the dreaded school uniform shopping trip as a result of this, often followed by that most laborious of tasks: marking all new said uniform with name tapes or various other methods. And in fact the shops have traded upon this phenomenon with their signs of ‘Back to School’ to act as a yearly reminder.
And the Church is no different in its September revival. After the summer, when so many activities are put on hold and the priest usually takes a well-deserved break, the Church launches into the new season’s activities with gusto. And this is hardly surprising. With Harvest Festival around the corner, followed by the Feast of Christ the King, Advent and then the great celebration of Christmas, the Church is always geared up for the busy time ahead. Our lives are marked by notable events – births, deaths and marriages, birthdays, new home, new job and a variety of others. In the same way the Church celeb-rates so many occasions which have been brought to us by scripture and tradition – and rightly so.
Yet as we prepare to launch ourselves into this wonderful new season, with all its accompanying activities, this could be a time for us to consider some different and possibly new pursuits of our own.
Spending time with the Lord in prayer and reflection can be a challenge for many of us in our busy lives, but nevertheless a wholly worthwhile one. And as the days become shorter and the nights darker and colder, this may possibly be the perfect time to make that window of opportunity to be with the Lord.
New beginnings can be strange, exciting and delightful. But as we prepare to enjoy the new and mellow season of autumn, may our hearts also be mellow with love of God as we find a place and time to be with him.
After all, marking time with the Lord is far preferable than marking school uniform!
(ENDS - 468 words)