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“And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a brush; he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed…God called unto him. . . and said…put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereupon thou standest is holy ground.” ((Exodus 3:2-5) 

It was a great day for Moses, who, having led his flock of sheep to the “backside “pasture, saw a bush that was ablaze with fire, yet was not consumed. Surely that was an autumn day. . .that we may be sure. Only in the fall does nature robe itself with fiery reds, golden yellows, somber browns, rich oranges, tender pastels . . .and unfading evergreens. . . all mingled on one giant panorama of canvas. And when we are in awe of God’s world, we stand on holy ground, with shoes aside.

William Carruth, the poet, speaks of
The ripe, rich tint of corn-fields
And wild geese sailing high,
And all over upland and lowland
The charm of the golden-rod,
Some of us call it Autumn,
And others call it God.”

As J. Winston Pearce wrote, “Along the rivers, up and down the sides of the great mountains, by the banks of the lakes you will see indescribable mixtures of gold and orange and crimsonand saffron…” Take a tour through the rural areas, drive through the forests and mountains, walk down your own street because, in autumn, a greater spectacle will never meet your eyes!

The Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley loved to speak of the time “…when the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder was in the shock…”, and when trees in the apple orchard were bending down with fruit. AH! Feel the frosty air, exult in the completed harvest, smell the aromas of apple pies! And in your mind’s eye, see the trumpeters, their horns blaring and inviting you to declare, “Glory, Glory, Glory!” Beyond the colors…there is God.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, in awe of Autumn,
wrote in her poem “
God’s World” these words:
Lord, I do fear Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year,
My soul is all but out of me,—-let fall
No burning leaf, prithee, let no bird call.”

Caught up in awe! No wonder the Lord told Moses to take off his shoes for the place he stood was holy! Autumn has that invitation for us to see beyond the colors, beyond Mother Nature, beyond the skies—-and see God.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, however, has a word of caution
that not everyone sees beyond Autumn:
“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit ‘round it and pluck blackberries.” 

Too many of us “pluck blackberries.” Autumn is merely a season of the year, and it has its thorny side; namely, leaves must be raked, and harvest must be gathered. Autumn is a season of fading life and warns that the winter of death is but a matter of time. Such thoughts are a way in which the misinformed person understands Autumn. Ears are deaf to what God may say to us out of the burning bush…and one thing God says out of the burning bush is this: “there is no death.” The fruit and the nut fall from the tree and only seem to die. The green grass withers and turns brown and seems to die.

But the poet declares:
“Undaunted by Decembers,
The sap is faithful yet,
The giving earth remembers
And only men forget.

“Autumn” cried Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “is not a sad season.” We take off our shoes at the burning bush because God, the Great Conservator, declares that just as surely as the grass greens in the spring, new leaves unfurl on trees, and the bulbs buried deep in the ground shall send forth their flowers again. Even Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field…“ in reference to the continual cycle of life.

Pause before the burning bush of Autumn and hear a final word. Autumn speaks of God, and God speaks of harmony, love, peace, grace, and much more. God in Autumn’s glory speaks of life. Not just any life, but abundant life.

“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” 

Some call it autumn…
…others call it God.