Now that it is officially mid-October, the weather has (finally!) turned cool enough to qualify as “fall,” the leaves are changing colors, and pumpkins are appearing everywhere. In many ways, the seasons of the year are representative of the seasons of life. All of God’s creatures, including humans, experience birth, growth, changes, and eventually death.

The fall season of the year reminds us that just as the leaves will change colors and fall from the trees, leaving bare branches, our human bodies too will change and decline and eventually die. These changes, even death, are not to be feared, but are a part of God’s amazing creation. I often remind families at funeral services that just as God cares for us throughout our lives, God continues to care for us in death. When a loved one dies, we can entrust them to God, for God’s infinite love and grace is not limited to our mortal lives.

In a few weeks, we will participate in our annual observance of All Saints Sunday, which will take place this year on November 3. In our worship service that morning, we will remember those members of our church family who have left this earth over the past year:

Joan MehaffeySue PlantinLois TomlinsonHelen PainterMary BittingerJim Stephens IIIBetty WoodallMabel Wilder

As we call their names and give thanks for their lives and for God’s light shining in them, we will light candles, recognizing that the light of Christ is present in the life of each of Jesus’ followers.

In the coming weeks, we will experience shorter days and longer nights as the season of fall progresses toward winter. This season of increasing darkness reminds us of our mortality – that all life, even ours, will experience death. Worship offers us a different cycle – a weekly cycle. Weekly worship interrupts the darkness to remind us that the light of Christ is stronger than death, and that through Christ, we have the power to overcome death. The seasons of worship, such as the annual observance of All Saints Sunday, remind us of the transformative power of Christ to turn death into eternal life. And so we continue to worship, even with reminders of death and darkness all around us, because we know there is abundant, eternal, and transformative life in Christ.

— Pastor Jennifer Rygg