Rev. Dr. Ed Goode, United Church of Christ Fort Thomas
I love four seasons photos. It started with one of the Boulder Flatirons that my parents gave me several years ago and has continued in my own photography. I have crafted several over the years and just finished another one. Last summer, I had stopped on this bridge at Sharon Woods to look down at the creek below and Scout just quietly and patiently sat down behind me. So I asked her to “stay” and took some steps back and what resulted was a beautiful summer photo of the pup looking rather contemplative. This led to another a few months later in Autumn, then one when we got some snow in January, and then just recently as Spring is in full bloom.
There’s a lot I love about these types of photos. I love seeing the ways certain things stay recognizable year over year such as the two trees at the far left end of the bridge. I love the shift of color that happens from the deep greens of summer, the yellowing of Autumn, the muted colors of Winter, and finally the mix of all of it in Spring. And then in these photos, there’s Scout having a bit of a different sense in each. In summer, she seems rather relaxed, Autumn she looks almost like she’s ready to move, Winter she looks like “why am I doing this?,” and then in Spring there’s a new energy to her. Maybe I’m reading too much into my dog’s body language…
But as I take in these scenes and look back at other four seasons series from my photography, I wonder what season I find myself in spiritually or emotionally even if that feeling doesn’t match the literal season. Of course, Scripture speaks of the seasons of life – “For everything there is a season…” in Ecclesiastes 3:1ff, but I think more about the stories of people in the Bible and the seasons we see in their lives. With many of the people we meet in the story of God, we see these seasons – times of growth and fullness, times when a shift is beginning, times of stillness and emptiness, and then times when renewal begins to appear.
These scenes also speak to where we find ourselves as followers of Jesus right now. We are crossing into something new and that stirs all kinds of things for us. For some this time is like summer where it is filling and renewing and energetic. Others feel Autumn with the mix of beauty and the unstoppable reality of change. Some feel like they simply want to wrap themselves in a blanket and hide from the Winter chill. And still others feel the sense of resurrection and new life that Spring reveals. It’s all in there.
But one last thing…Look to the center of the image toward where the path leads away from the bridge. While we do not see where the path leads as it curves around to the right, we do see that the path is the same regardless of the season. That path is the path of discipleship – the path that Jesus calls us to travel day by day even if we may not see where it ends up. I love the way that Eugene Peterson translates Proverbs 3:6… “Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; God’s the one who will keep you on track.” So regardless of the season, listen for God’s voice and trust in the one who led us to the bridge, who will help us cross, and who will continue to show the way.