The Leaves Keep Falling

Tuesday, October 28

Autumn LeavesBy Paul McCain of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

—Romans 14:19 NRSV

Across the street from my front door is a huge maple tree. Next to the driveway are two large Bradford pear trees. In the middle of the yard is a tall pin oak—the kindest tree, because it drops its leaves sparingly throughout the winter and spring. The others are relentless leaf-droppers, and the scene needs much attention with leaf blower, yard rake, snow shovel, and compost bins.

Like many tasks, if not attended to several times over the fall and winter, the mess becomes harder to cope with. The blower coaxes the leaves into piles, preferably on the drive or street, so I then can scoop them up with the snow shovel and load them into containers. Then I smash the leaves in the compost pile to make room for more. It is worthwhile work.

I find the same in other areas of life. Consequences develop in my spiritual life if I do not attend to the daily leaves that fall. These leaves are the insensitive treatment of friends and family, less-than-thoughtful reaction to requests by co-workers, and any response of mine that does not show how much I value people. I find this causes pain much worse than back pain. This too, is worthwhile work.

I give thanks for understanding the burdens that these “leaves” make. I give thanks to the Lord as we build better habits of encouragement and peace while interacting with others in life.

Prayer for Peace God of the seasons, may we build peace throughout the year. Help us respond to others with kindness every day. When we fail, help us pursue what makes for peace.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons Read Psalm 139:13–18. After each reading sit quietly and let the words sink deeply into your mind, heart, and body. What thoughts and feelings do you have about being “fearfully and wonderfully made”?

Sense the intimate knowledge and love God has for you and everyone. Be aware of the sacred worth of each person. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. How does God invite you to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will be consistent in my spiritual practices for peace.

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