Devotions are an important part of our faith journeys and are practiced daily at camp. For this devotional, gather your family (outside, if possible). Read through the text while looking up at nearby tree branches. Close your time with the suggested prayer.
Before calendars, humans marked the passage of time by the cycles they observed in nature. The sun rises and sets. Temperatures grow colder, then warmer, then colder again. Around this time every year, trees shine with vibrant reds, oranges, and golds. We look forward to this beautiful fall foliage each autumn. At camp, we host a day for everyone to walk the grounds and marvel at God’s artistic handiwork.
Like many things in God’s creation that captivate us, the science behind our observations is equally fascinating. We talk about the leaves changing colors, but those words are misleading. You may recall learning that trees produce their own food through photosynthesis. Chlorophyll, an essential element to the photosynthesis process, is what gives leaves their green color. As photosynthesis slows in the fall, the chlorophyll breaks down and exits the leaves, taking the green pigmentation with it. It’s only after this departure that the red, orange and yellow colors are revealed. So it is not that leaves are at one time, fully green, and at another, fully red. In truth, for most of their time on the tree, the leaves are both green and red, as both pigments are present.
Martin Luther famously described Christians as simultaneously sinner and saint. Both elements are fully present in us at all times. We cannot escape our sin, and yet we are constantly being forgiven and made clean through God’s grace. As we journey through the fall foliage season, take time to reflect on those moments when one part of this duality in you shone more brightly than the other. Appreciate the beautiful gift that is God’s love, bringing balance to all His creation, including you.
Loving God, Your hands have created all that we know. The land, the oceans, and all the plants and creatures that inhabit the earth. You made the world and it was good. Yet we, Your children, are unable to fulfill Your perfect desire for us. Our sin has broken us. But You love us still. And through the grace of Jesus Christ, we are made new – continually healed and forgiven of our selfish ways. We give You thanks and ask for inspiration to see the majesty of Your creation in all the little miracles of the season. Amen.