On reading the gospel of John in the autumn

It has been my practice this year to focus a northern hemisphere season on a gospel (winter — Matthew, spring — Mark, summer — Luke, and now autumn — John). It has been a new way to interconnect creation and scripture, walking and reading.

In the beginning are the leaves,
and the leaves are fragile and beautiful,
and the leaves are on the tree.
The beauty and the fragility is life –
scarlet and golden,
and apples are with the leaves
and harvest and hope.

And there are saints to remember
and all souls – saintly and not so saintly,
and candles in pumpkins
lit for all their spirits.
And there are children begging
from door to door
with sheets on their heads.
Children are not the Word,
but we hear it from their lips.

And we come to Thanksgiving
but we cannot fully understand it –
not gratitude,
not living water, bread of life, vine,
not foot washing, many rooms,
not even needing to let go.

The leaves fall from the tree
and we do not look up
into dark branches silhouetting truth
against October and November sunset.
But we be-leaved in our stubborn
raking up, lonely way
that something will be born –
not of blood nor of human will,
nor even of much-advertised,
the Advent season,
but of God.

And the Word becomes flesh,
full of grace, fragile
and beautiful and hanging on a tree.

Thank you to those who have sent me these autumn images — my (small letter) words cannot touch the holiness of these days.

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8 Responses to On reading the gospel of John in the autumn

  1. Marie Lucca says:

    So absolutely beautiful.

    • Maren says:

      Thank you, Marie. Strangely each of these four has been very, very different. And, of course, completely turned around for my southern hemisphere friends.

  2. Erice Fairberother says:

    it is so beautiful, a tender poem. Thanks Maren. Eevn here int he southern hemisphere it works, for the seasons of my life do not necessarily follow the order of the seasons of creation

  3. Darla Turlington says:

    Touching and thought-provoking. Thank you.

  4. Maren, I’ve also just re-read John’s gospel, and I love the subtle ways you merge its phrases into this praise of autumn wonders.

  5. rezrevres says:

    I am always deeply moved by your ability to weave the everyday into the scriptural and in so doing reinvigorate and enliven ancient teachings. Thank you Maren

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