Lessons From the Harvest
By Aidan Tiemann
“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night,
shall not cease.”
-Genesis 8:22 (NRSV)
As I write this, signs of autumn are starting to appear. The days are finally getting shorter, and it’s with relief that I look ahead to pumpkin patches, baking, walks through fallen leaves, and my small town’s annual autumn fair. We have entered the traditional harvest season.
My journey as a Christian has led me further and further from modern organized Christianity and closer to a more earth-centered practice of my faith. I’ve begun to celebrate the seasonal festivals of the first European Christians (who the Romans called pagans), along with the liturgical calendar. In these seasonal festivals, there is a parallel to the narrative arc found in the Gospels: life, death, and rebirth.
In the changing of the seasons, we see the vibrant life of summer turn to the slow decay of autumn. By winter, the earth seems to be on hold—inhibited by the cold, the snow, and the gray colorlessness that coats what once was all greens, browns, oranges, and blues. The days are short, and the sun is dim. But with spring comes new life and bright color, and the world begins again. The cycle of the seasons so closely mirrors the Resurrection that it must be intentional.
In these coming devotional days, I’ll share some lessons I’ve found in three ancient harvest time festivals and explore the significance they hold for modern Christianity. In the meantime, find your favorite autumn treat—something pumpkin-flavored, a freshly picked apple, a mug of something hot—and spend some time outside if you can. Take a walk, sit and practice mindfulness, or simply find some activity you can do while enjoying the (hopefully) cooler weather. I recommend Psalm 104 (NRSV) for further reading.
Father God, Mother Goddess—we are entering a new season, and we ask that you open our eyes to the lessons the earth can teach us this autumn. Help us see you in the world around us, and give us the curiosity to never stop seeking you in the wonders of your creation. Amen.