Sep 30 2009

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Kingdom Come SP Raven Rock fallFall has finally arrived in southeastern Kentucky.  It will be a while before we have any significant color in the foliage but the temperatures have dropped significantly and the feel of fall is in the air.  I love autumn and always have.  I have wonderful childhood memories of making huge piles of leaves and jumping into them.  I remember fall festivals at school and hayrides at church.  From my earliest days I have loved the colors of fall.  Every year I look forward to seeing leaves turn red, yellow, orange, brown and purple.  One of the blessings of living in the southern Appalachians is the glorious autumn display put on by our native hardwoods.

A few weeks ago Rob wrote about fall in southern California and how it, too, has its seasonal changes.  I guess most places do.  I’m very thankful, however, to live where the four seasons are quite distinct.  It adds variety and a sense of rhythm to the year.  It also provides a wonderful reminder of God’s faithfulness.

My favorite hymn is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”  The second verse reads, “Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, sun, moon and stars in their courses above, join with all nature in manifold witness, to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”  For the writer of this great hymn, and for me, the changing of the seasons bears witness to God’s faithful hand behind Creation. 

In Genesis 8 God promised Noah that He would maintain the changing seasons.  He told him, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”  As the temperatures have dropped this week and a few leaves have begun to present their fall colors, I am reminded one more time that the Creator of this world is still in control.  It makes me want to sing “Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”  It also makes me want to go take some pictures…


(The image above was taken at Kingdom Come State Park in southeastern Kentucky.)

Sep 11 2009


Fall Buckwheat 2Fall can be a wonderful time of year. When my wife and I with our kids moved to California from Minnesota nearly 16 years ago, a lot of people told us we would miss the seasons. Even folks in California said there were no seasons here. That is really not true. While we don’t have the dramatic fall foliage of the Midwest and East, we do get a distinct change in the vegetation, such as the wonderful red-browns of California buckwheat as seen here. I love buckwheat throughout the year — it is a very Western type of flower with hundreds of species throughout the West and none in the East.

I got really excited when I saw this expanse of buckwheat going up the hill along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. I know that not everyone will be. A lot of folks want the extreme color of the East, but I feel we are blessed by God with a unique vegetation and a unique fall color. God did not make the world the same all over. There are cold places and hot places, wet places and dry places. As I have traveled around the country and the world, I have visited all sorts of natural areas and loved them all. I really do feel that God created this world with a wonderful complexity that makes it fascinating and interesting. People often ask me where my favorite place is. I usually answer wherever I am because I truly believe that. I never feel apart from nature and God because there is always an interesting spot of nature everywhere. Even in cities or at least nearby. So right now, my favorite place is Southern California, especially the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, and I thank God for all of it.

As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” or as The Message interprets it, “A right time for everything on the earth.” For me, that right time is fall in Southern California.