The Rev. Shannah M. McAleer, senior minister, Unity Church of Lawrence, 900 Madeline Lane:
As everything in God’s creation, I believe there is a divine plan to the four seasons — and on many levels. First, it is an amazing balance of the needs of the natural world to have the seasons.
For example, the leaves fall from the trees just before the winds and snows of winter. This way, there is less damage to the trees from breaking limbs. Likewise as winter goes into spring, we see the flowers begin to poke through the snow and wet earth and know that the winter snows have prepared the soil just right for those resting bulbs to bloom. There are many examples of the balance of the earth working this way from season to season. We also appreciate the seasons within our inner landscape. An example might be in how as we slow down from all the activities of summer and beginnings of school and more activities in the fall, winter allows us all an opportunity to go within and reflect in the quiet times at home about our connection to creation and to God.
Winter is a natural “slow down and rest time.” Lastly, who hasn’t said from time to time: “Man, I wish summer would be over? Or fall? Or winter? Or spring?” Just when we are about to toss in the towel with all the heat or all the cold — we get a new season. It’s all in God’s divine plan.
Let’s all get out there and enjoy the beauty of autumn and all the seasons to come. Remember as it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” — in our natural world and in our lives. Blessings to you all for a wonderful month of giving thanks.
— Send e-mail to Shannah McAleer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Gruber, member, Oread Friends Meeting, 1146 Ore.:
The Sufi wisdom is there are two categories of existence: one which is subject to change, transformation and realignment, and another which is eternal, omnipresent and unchanging.
The Zen poem “The Human Route” has a line which states, “Life is like a floating cloud that appears and death is like a floating cloud that disappears. The floating cloud did not originally exist. But there is one thing that is not subject to life and death.”
The Sufis call the first category Hayyo. Examples of this category are the seasons in nature (fall, winter, spring, summer), the seasons of human life (birth, youth, growth, aging, death), and the rhythms of nature (the tides, the moon phases, the constellation movement, 17-year locusts).
The second category is eternal, omnipresent and unchanging. The Sufis call this Qayyum. This category has no beginning or end, is present everywhere in all things and in the spaces between all things. It is not subject to coming and going, birth and death, time or season. It is beyond aspects or realignment. Some people call this God or Spirit or That Which Has No Name.
The two categories exist in all of creation. This paradox fascinates curious minds.
I believe that Hayyo is an aspect of Qayyum, but Qayyum includes everything, everywhere, at all times, and is not an aspect of anything. It is the totality of everything. My belief is that the Eternal provides us with seasonal changes to remind us of the ever-changing nature of life.
I go outside and check the tree colors blazing in the sun, notice the nip in the air and the grasses turning brown. In one sense, it helps me remember that change is ever-present and that which is behind change is solid, permanent and unchanging.
— Send e-mail to Charles Gruber at email@example.com.