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Monday, October 11, 2010


word of the day: abscission \ab-ˈsi-zhən\ 1.) the act or process of cutting off 2.) the natural separation of flowers, fruit, or leaves from plants at a special separation layer

First and foremost, I want to thank my mom for letting me plagiarize her fall photos. She sure has an eye for the beauty of creation and they fit perfectly with the theme of this post. Plus, you may remember that I don't have a lot of extra time lying around. So, thanks mom. You're pretty much amazing.

Everything seemed especially quiet today as I drove up my driveway this afternoon. Fall always seems to enter the picture with a certain stillness in the air and it never ceases to make me all the more reflective about things.

Every year I wish Fall would overstay his welcome. Each October, he comes to town, unpacks his suitcase of vibrant colors and cool temperatures, and then gets the heck out of Dodge before you've even asked him to stay the night. It's not like we complain about his presence. If anything, you'd think he'd like the incessant attention he gets for being so wonderful.

For some reason I felt the urge to research the falling of leaves today. Maybe it was the stillness in the air. Maybe it was my desire to know why they don't stick around for longer. Either way, I came away with some interesting new knowledge thanks to Google and Robert Krulwich.

Apparently leaves don't fall off trees as I always thought. Apparently "Fall" is a little misleading.

Abscission, by definition, is the act or process of cutting off. The wind isn't responsible for the falling of leaves, rather, the tree itself is. According to Krulwich, once the time comes for a tree to lose its leaves, "little cells appear at the place where the leaf stem meets the branch. They are called "abscission" cells. They have the same root as the word scissors, meaning they are designed, like scissors, to make a cut."

The leaves don't fall off. They are cut.

Does that rock your world like it did mine?

Then I got to thinking that perhaps there was more for me to take away from abscission. Like maybe the act itself was symbolic of something bigger.

That's when I stumbled across Romans 11:13-24:

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

I suppose at this point I could go into a deep theological discussion about the parallels between abscission and God's covenant.

That's not what struck me the most, though.

Frankly, I am most encouraged to see God's Word in action. He tends to paint vibrant pictures for me during the times when I need to feel the reality of His word the most.

Perhaps you'll take away something different. Perhaps you'll explain to me the deep theological parallels between abscission and God's covenant. That's the beauty of it, though, isn't it? God promises to meet us where we are. He promises to continue to reveal His truth to us if we'll only open our eyes and look for it.

So hurry. You'd better get a good look at Fall before it's too late. I think I overheard him saying that he'd like one more Pumpkin Spice Latte before he starts to pack his suitcase. That doesn't give you much time.

Krulwich, Robert. "Why Leaves Really Fall Off Trees : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR."NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. 30 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Oct. 2010.

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