When our family were first looking at moving to Brunswick I begin to imagine all sorts of things; what our house would be like, what our neighbours would be like, what I would look like. Somehow I always imagined myself to have a model like figure and wear 50's style circle dresses - those of you who have gotten to know me will know that the reality is that I live in jeans and I love my desserts so that image was somewhat unrealistic. The thing I really didn't expect was to end up living right next to a beautiful park, enjoying watching the leaves on the trees turn from a luscious green to becoming crisp and golden (I was expecting a concrete jungle).
I love watching the changing seasons and I meet each one of them with a sense of wonder and anticipation. The thing that strikes me most about this season is that, despite the incredible beauty, what the earth around us is experiencing is death on a huge scale. Yet, unlike Chicken Little (for those of you familiar with the story), I don't look at the trees across the road from my house and panic when they clearly appear to be dying. Why? Because I have a certainty of their resurrection in the spring. My certainty is not based on blind faith, although faith definitely plays a part. I am certain that the trees will become green again because of the scientific facts of the lifecycle of a tree that I learned in school and because of my experience year upon year that I draw on to know that those things that I have heard and have been taught are true.
On Sunday we looked at Luke and the reason for him writing the books of Luke and Acts to the mysterious person known as Theophilus. Luke says that he writes so that Theophilus may have "certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4). We then went on the speak about how we can have certainty of faith which is based on historical evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, which is based on the evidence of things we have seen and experienced and which is based on our on going relationship with Jesus. That certainty is really important, so when the changes come, challenges to our faith come or we experience death and disaster, we do not sink into despair but through the tears, the pain and the struggle we can have a sure and certain hope in Jesus and in his resurrection power. So many people think I am stupid for believing in Jesus and having hope in him. They tell me that what they see in the world clearly demonstrates that there is no God. Yet the things that they point out to me are like autumn and winter and I have a sure and certain hope in Jesus, based on evidence, experience and relationship, that spring will come.
This coming Sunday we will be celebrating all the good that this season brings as it is our Harvest All Together Service. As usual we will be eating together after the service so, if you can, bring something sweet or savoury to share. We have loads of pizza and garlic bread so please avoid bringing those but all other contributions are very welcome. Don't worry if you can't bring anything, you are very welcome to come and eat with us anyway.