Welcome Fall – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Ember Day

Exodus 19:3-8
Matthew 16:24-27

Welcome to Fall! Last night was the Autumn Equinox when day and night were almost the same amount of time. The earth’s axis and the sun’s orbit lined up given both hemispheres an equal about of light. The weather here has cooled, and the humidity dropped. Leaves are just beginning to turn color. Soon the brilliance will unfurl as leaves prepare to let go.

Today we pray for all Christians in our common vocation of following Jesus. “Deny yourself and take up your cross,” Jesus says. Surrender. Let go of pride, ambition, faults, fears and seeking self-sufficiency. “Follow me; trust me,” Jesus says. “I am your Savior.” We often fear, flee, or fight, but what if we fall into following? That may sound impossible especially when life and grief overwhelm. Jesus crucified, risen, and ascended bears all our weight, indeed all of creation. Surrender is trusting Jesus with everything.

One part is honestly naming feelings and experiences. A challenge of prayer is our resistance to speak with God about everything. I want to ignore much of my pain, shame, and grief. In whatever form your prayer takes today, whether in the silence of your heart, in speaking to a trusted ear, in journaling, gazing, drawing, or moving, risk honesty about your experience. Pray your life as it is.

God is here with and for you. As before, God will hold as on eagles’ wings. God will “bear your spirit up and brace your heart and nerve your arm.”[i] Let go, like a leaf falling into the divine wind. Poet Denise Levertov wrote: “Freefall and float into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace, Knowing that no effort earns that all surrounding grace.”[ii]

May the beauty of this season remind and encourage our common call. Take up your cross. Welcome fall.

[i] Charles William Everest (1814-1877), alt. “Take up your cross,” #675 in The Hymnal 1982.

[ii] Denise Levertov (1984) “The Avowal” in Oblique Prayers. New Directions Publishing Corp.

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