Monthly Archives: September 2010

It’s Fall, Praise God!

Last week we officially ended the air conditioning season at our house. A rather dramatic change from blast furnace temperatures of the hottest summer on record to slightly below seasonal average highs for late September called for opening windows and letting breezes stir the house at their pleasure And ours. Adding to the elation of the transition, strong, drenching rain fell just as the windows opened to let the raindrops’ sibilant song inside. Gentle breaths of wind seemed to signal that the whole world was sighing in relief.

With the windows open the varied harmonies of the outdoors can be more easily heard calling you to join in. I succumbed to the call Tuesday, spending almost the whole day from just after breakfast until just before supper out on the deck in the delightful, genuinely autumnal cool. From our treetop level deck, we get to survey the yard that has produced abundant fruit this summer sloping away to the secure valley holding our community. It is a good place to have grown a family.

Sitting out on the deck right now is more pleasant than it has been in other similar seasons. We have swept, raked, bagged, and removed a bumper crop of gingko fruit – but more fruit still hangs on the tree, ready to rain down. Gingko fruit has no beneficial uses I have ever heard about. The fruit are about the size of a fig, its ancient cousin in the family of trees. Our female gingko casts pounds of fruit, which rapidly begin to break down and ferment on the ground. The scent (or is that stench?) is robust. We are trying to stem the aromatic complications this year for the first time by gathering and hauling away the gingko fruit pods.

On Tuesday, we were enjoyably ahead of the game. I sat at a table in the full sunshine rather than in the shade of the gingko canopy that spreads across two thirds of the deck. I needed the warmth of the sun on my back to be comfortable. From the trees all kinds of birds competed for airtime with their different tunes. Wind chimes played grand improvisations based on the notes of the Westminster chimes. A squirrel accustomed to shelling walnuts on the top rail of the deck squawked when he found me unexpectedly nearby. Potted mums and colorful houseplants not yet ready to move inside testified from their shelves and plant stands that time was marvelously suspended between seasons. Visions danced in my thoughts of next Tuesday, when I anticipate spending the day at the boathouse listening to another natural symphony of waves, breezes, birdcalls, and an occasional splash from fish jumping.

In such a setting as this it is hard not to give thanks to God and to praise God for his overflowing wonders and grace. In this frame of mind, it is also difficult to remain out of sorts with other people. After all, God has given them the same majestic creation to enjoy and to provide for their needs. The exact composition of the scenery or the unfolding melody certainly will be different for anyone not sitting by your side, but the artist and composer is everywhere the same. These days erupt in displays of God’s care, and our most appropriate response is “Praise the Lord!”

A psalm captures the fitting response to God, recognizing that other parts of God’s creation may precede us in offering praise and thanks for God’s goodness and grace. Psalm 148 seems to me to have two stanzas, each followed by a different chorus. The theme is the same throughout: Praise the Lord!

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens! Praise him from the skies! {2} Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven! {3} Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars! {4} Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!

{5} Let every created thing give praise to the LORD, for he issued his command, and they came into being. {6} He established them forever and forever. His orders will never be revoked.

{7} Praise the LORD from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, {8} fire and hail, snow and storm, wind and weather that obey him, {9} mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, {10} wild animals and all livestock, reptiles and birds, {11} kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, {12} young men and maidens, old men and children.

{13} Let them all praise the name of the LORD. For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! {14} He has made his people strong, honoring his godly ones– the people of Israel who are close to him.

Praise the LORD! (Psalm 148 NLT)

I hope that you can find a special, favorite place to bask in God’s wonderful works in this invigorating Fall season. Let the marvelous sights, sounds, scents, and feelings of this time created by God lead you to new appreciation for his grace and power. Lose yourself in adoration of God’s care, setting you free from animosity toward others and fretting about conflicts you may have kept brewing. Sense your embrace by God in the family of his sons and daughters, and resolve to join them in jubilant praise for all God has done for us.

Go sit in the sunshine on a cool Fall day. It will do your soul and body some good, and should lead you closer to God.

– J. Edward Culpepper

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