Who but God would conceive an equinox?
September 22nd marks a Northern Hemisphere celebration. As if astronomically centered on “going halves,” we enter a sacred equipoise: ancient as time, vital as rain.
On this day our planet’s axis, normally tilted, shifts to 0° in relation to the sun.
Daytime and darkness balance.
Each will last roughly 12 hours.
Change beckons—both practical and spiritual. Whereas spring’s burgeoning energies urge us to seed and weed, autumn’s harvest and falling leaves invite us to reap and release.
Perhaps we prepare our gardens for winter, enacting a kind of closure.
It’s healing to embrace the annual exhale.
Yielding, we cede and shed.
Our tempo alters.
As seasonal pressures abate, some aspects of personal drive lessen. Overshadowed desires may emerge.
- Shelved dreams
- That postponed trip
- An orphaned brainchild
- A longing for contemplative solitude
Autumn’s bittersweet natural rhythms coincide with a lesser-known Christian feast day. On September 23rd the Orthodox Church honors the conception date of John the Baptist.
My all-too-visceral, first thoughts of John careen between camel hair tunics reeking of sweat and silt, Honey ‘n Bugs for breakfast, seven veils, and a bloodied sword.
But there’s also the Jordan, and the Voice, and the dove, descending.
John the vagabond Baptist, speaking of Jesus, said, “I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.”
Shoes are gifts I too often take for granted. They support us in our activities. They communicate something of who we are and what we choose. When I imagine the dusty sandals of Jesus, I want to emulate John’s example, align myself with his mindset, humbly walk out my faith, day after day.
“He must increase,” John also said of Jesus, “but I must decrease.” (John 3:30, ESV)
The equinoxes, whether spring or fall, send us to our closets. We switch up our footwear. We unearth or stow our sandals and flip flops. We slip into heels for a date or clogs for work in the garden; we double-knot work boots or cinch the laces of dress shoes. We adhere or peel back Velcro on sneakers. We buckle galoshes and rain boots.
Donning shoes requires a change in posture, a bowed head. We stoop or squat. Even if we sit or stand, we lower our heads to align each foot with the opening. This small gesture of surrender moves us between relative stillness and ensuing activity, perhaps several times a day. Done attentively, might this prime the spirit for devotion?
Lately, this prayer is helping me to more fully enter the pause . . .
S Slow me down; show me Your way.
H Hold my hand and help me obey.
O Oversee all I do and say,
E Ever my Savior, come what may.
Having done this, I can “Stand… feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6: 15).
And therein grace aligns with human intention—not by halves, fleetingly balanced—but wholly given each day of the year.
For further reflection: Why not lace on your favorite walking shoes, then meander and muse?
In this moment, what is essential?
What season am I in, personally?
What currently tabled expression, unique to me, awaits my engagement?
What needs to be scaled back or pared away to release it?
How else might I more fully inhabit this season?
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