The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time and a season for everything, a time to live and a time to die. Our lives are dominated by the seasons. They inform how we dress, our extra curricular activities, how late we choose to stay out. Each season brings its joys and challenges. For people who suffer from hay fever, summer can be a devastating time. For those whose moods are affected by light and sunshine as the days become shorter, it makes them more prone to sadness and depression. I wonder how the seasons affect you and what preparation you make to enjoy each season.
September is my favourite month and Autumn my favourite season. I like September because you can have beautiful summer days without intense heat and hay fever season for me is past. I love walking and it is perfect month for going on long walks. I also remember having a huge loss in September as a young Christian and really having to think about death and resurrection and what I believed as a Christian. It was towards the end of September when the leaves had begun to die on the trees. As I looked at the trees, I saw that there was great beauty in death. God is so amazing that as Spring ends and we go into Autumn we are surrounded by spectacular colour. For me September is a month that speaks of death and resurrection. The leaves will continue to fall off the trees as they lay bare for winter and then in Spring new life will begin. It is hard to take a loss through the winter, but sometimes we just need that time to grieve, to come to terms and to hear God speak of a new way of being and of new possibilities.
In the month of August, I presided at four funerals and came alongside those facing the death of a loved one. In each of these services there were words about resurrection and eternal life. When we lose someone, what we believe in can sometimes be challenged. I hold on that first Easter Sunday, when the disciples had lost all hope and the women went to the garden to anoint the body, only to be told that Jesus had risen! Mary encounters the risen Christ and she joyfully returns to the disciples to share her news. The resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost changed these disciples to men and women with good news to tell, that death was not to be feared, that we are promised eternal life.
When we have moments of doubt, let us look at the seasons, at the death and resurrection of each season, the cycle of life and be encouraged. Let us also be an encouragement to others as they struggle with loss and grief. Jesus says in John 10:10, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ Let us live a full life whatever our circumstances! Who was not inspired by the Paralympics?
September is also my favourite month because it marks the start of ‘Strictly’ season and I look forward to dark Saturday evenings, sequins, being with good friends and dancing!
Revd Vindra Maraj-Ogden
Christian Aid Prayers:
When disaster strikes
Please pray for everyone whose life, home or livelihood is at risk this hurricane season. Ask God to bless CA partners who are working to alert communities in El Salvador when wave-surges are coming so that they can evacuate in time, and training volunteers in the Philippines to prepare their communities for storms.
Loving God, We pray for those who fear the power of mighty storms. Protect and shelter them – through warning systems, community volunteers and strong homes. Accompany those who need to feel your presence – in the terror of the storm, in the grief of the destruction, and in the struggle to rebuild. Amen.
Read the Septemberl 2016 Campaign Update from our Christian Aid Committee.
The Kings Langley Christian Aid Annual Report for 2015 is available for download.