This Season of Reflection

posted Oct 14, 2022, 6:47 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Grace and peace to you in this season of Ordinary Time!


Growing up in South Florida there was never any season change — my world was green and warm year round. Some of you might see that as a welcome relief, but I found it rather boring. I wanted autumn color, cool weather, a rhythm that signaled the shifting of time. It’s no wonder then that October, November, and December are my favorite months of the year. Even after living in the Northeast for thirty years, I still am in awe of the beauty that comes to us this time of year. Each day during the months of October and November I make it a point to go outside and pay attention to the changes happening around me and wonder — When will my favorite little maple tree that I’ve been watching grow for years now turn that fiery red? At what point will the chipmunks go under ground to hibernate for the winter and the dark-eyed juncos reappear? Will the rut for the deer begin earlier or later than usual? When will the “green wall” of the forest behind the Education Building yield to a bare, brown field of sticks? Will we have a big storm at the end of October as has been the case for years now? I know these events will happen but I want to notice when they do in celebration of God’s creation.


So, this year Jamie and I decided to start recording these changes in what we’ve fondly called the Coventry House Almanac and have been writing down what we’ve seen regarding the flora and the fauna. It is our way of being in a space of wonder and thanksgiving for the beauty we are almost casually given. I invite you to notice what envelopes you at this time of year. Breathe in deeply the cool, musky smell of the air. Notice the colors on the trees and bushes as they change. Regard the dimming light of the sun. When a brisk wind blows, rejoice in God’s confetti party of swirling, falling leaves and give thanks.


“This season of reflection”

Father God
we thank you for this season of reflection
when we can look back over
the rebirth of spring,
renewal of summer,
and look ahead to the reappearance of winter.

As the leaves change colour and begin to fall,
as harvest is gathered in and stored,
as coolness and changeable weather replaces
the warmth and brightness of summer,
as we draw the curtains and light candles

we thank you for the
comfort of your presence,

time to slow down,
and to reflect.


We thank you for
all that has gone before,
lessons we have learned along the way,
the chance to step back with hope and assurance
as we prepare and await,
with peace and anticipation,
the winter of our lives.
  — Ruth Bowen in Autumn: Liturgical Resources for August, September and October including Ordinary Time and Harvest


Come in a spirit of wonder and thanksgiving this Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost in person or on Facebook Live. The Joyful Noise Adult Choir is singing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” for the Anthem. I will be preaching from Jeremiah 31.27-34 and Luke 18.1-8 and my sermon title is God Never Gives Up.


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish


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