catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 1, Num 3 :: 2002.10.11 — 2002.10.24


Beautiful death

Enjoying the mystery of autumn

“Paradox” is a word we have invented to express that two contradictory ideas can be true. Autumn, in all of its wondrous brilliance, is a season of death, of ending. Death is a cause for celebration for those who put their hope in Christ because we have the promise of spring, of new life. Christ, the Son of God, exalted above all, was both fully human and fully God and died so we can live eternally. The notion of “paradox” acknowledges that we cannot fully understand a world that is not of our own making. However, we are paradoxically driven to try to understand.

This issue of *cino addresses the desire to understand our world since the Fall. One way we try to understand is through storytelling. We have the story of one family who went through immense pain to finally reach a place of salvation and peace. We have a modern folk tale that explores the nature of the Fall itself.

Another way we try to understand the world is through reason. We have a student’s explanation of the need to study controversial literature in order to understand and avoid sin. We have a review of a book that documents the attempt of two communities to understand a local tragedy. We have a theoretical explanation of the way God uses our desire for sorrow to build community.

A third way we understand the world is through our own sensory experiences. What *cino has to offer in this respect is a challenge to savor the progress of autumn this year, the smells, the tastes, the colors, the sounds. Autumn offers the opportunity to enjoy change, to give thanks, to revel in the powerful beauty that is evidence of death. But there’s also the giddy anticipation of renewal, the knowledge that our God will use this temporary moment of destruction to breathe new life into us. So jump in a pile of leaves. Sit outdoors and write a poem. Pick apples or pumpkins. Put on your favorite big sweater and build a fire. Bake a pie and bring it to your neighbors.

In these activities, try to surrender some pain you cannot understand. Let your sorrows fall to the ground to make room for new growth. Because I believe that this season exists to remind us that sometimes, figurative death is beautiful. Sometimes in giving ourselves over to the barrenness of winter, in making ourselves naked and vulnerable, we express a profound hope that some miracle will make us whole again.

Sometimes the best we can do is enjoy today and trust that our loving Creator knows what He’s doing with tomorrow. What an amazing, incomprehensible God we serve.

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