The view from my deck this morning showed the stark outlines of the copper beech against the glimmer of the pre-dawn light. Since we have been away the great tree has lost all its leaves and I can appreciate its now gaunt beauty. Of course the leaves will be, I know, in great drifts on the bottom path demanding to be raked, swept, heaped and removed before they turn to mulch and the path becomes a hazard.
I recall how our first week in Wanaka was golden in the peak of Autumn - as the photo shows -though when we left the gold was already browning over to become sludge - earth to earth, ashes to ashes - to feed the new growth for the greening in the Spring.
Sunday will be my first Sunday back since the break but it looks to be a little different from what I had planned - I had been looking forward to reflecting on the gospel for the day (John 14 - 'I am the way, the truth and the life' passage) but since then the request has come from the Bishops at General Synod that at all services this Sunday we read the Synod's resolution on the issue of same sex blessings.
We are not often asked to do something like that, but at significant moments in its life the church has done just this. This may not come from one of the great Councils of the Church as a proclamation of a major point of doctrine, nonetheless in our place and context and the issues that perplex us, this is a major statement of our faith and what it means to be the church. To ask that we all read it out rather than distribute printouts is to make the resolution a living and tangible part of our common life as a Communion; it is to translate the Resolution from the conceptual to the incarnational. So tomorrow, whether comprehending or uncomprehending, from the smallest church in a remote community to a great Cathedral in a major city, we will all read and hear this resolution and, in our various ways, share in the pain, the hope and the faith that it holds. Reading it in this way as 'the Church' (at least in this province of our Communion) we will make corporeal something of what it means to be 'in Christ' and, indeed, to follow the One who is 'the way, the truth and the life'.