The gloriously colourful leaves are falling, the harvest has come in, and the church has begun her countdown to the last days of the Church year. The end is near, and it all has me thinking. It has me thinking about how riotously (and sadly) colourful it all is.
Let me explain. For many years, while I lived out west, autumn seemed to be a three day process. The leaves turned yellow one day, they fell off the trees the next, and everything was covered with the first snowfall on the third. There was very little “season” to the whole process … more like a shotgun start of winter at the end of every summer. How very unlike where I live now! The autumn days are colourful and vibrant, the air is pleasant, and while rain may dampen things once in a while, the threat of snow still seems a long way off. Here, the world is simply enjoying itself too much to go rushing off into winter!
But alas, it all must end. Indeed, by the time you are taking your evening walks or afternoon drives to thrill at all the lustrous hues of autumn, the objects of your attention are already dead! For leaves only begin to show off all their stunning colours, once the stuff of life – the chlorophyll – has gone. By the time they get vibrant and exciting to look at, they are dead and useless to the tree. Their fate is sealed, and it is only a matter of time before you will be raking them up and carting them off for burning or compost.
How very much like the end of this world of ours. Many people think that things are getting better all the time. But God’s Word tells us that so much of the seeming vibrancy, colour and excitement we see building around us is really the shading of death bursting to the fore. The world continues to rush headlong into the shallow pursuit of feeling good and having fun, and receiving all that I can claim as my right. The world loves to shine forth the beacons of tolerance (at any cost), inclusiveness (of any ideology), and absolute relativism, and then sits back and revels in the riotous orgy of colour and expression it has created …
… but all the while fails to see that all the good and useful virtues like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control have slowly been seeping out of our society as Christ and the Holy Spirit are removed from people’s lives.
And when that Holy Spirit is removed, what’s left may look spectacularly pleasing to our eyes … but it is dead. A dried up husk that leads nowhere and can produce nothing worthwhile. It may be riotously colourful, but it is only a matter of time before it is all raked up and thrown into the fire as the useless stuff it is. Indeed the more colourful it gets the closer the end has come.
But sin is not the only thing to colour our world. For there was a different three day process that led through death to life … when our Lord a Saviour died on a cross, was brought down and buried in a tomb to , but then rose again to new life! Over the course of three short days all our sin in all its riotous colour was paid for, death was defeated, and our lives were covered in a blanket of righteousness – Christ’s righteousness – painting even the darkest of sins as white as snow.
So I for one won’t be complaining (too much) when the raking is done and the shoveling begins. Not only is white a colour, but it is a truly glorious one that sparkles with all the promises of a blessed end and a fresh start in Christ.