To All Those Who Came First

yellow leaves


          The trees in our backyard are putting on their fall finery very late this year. It’s early October, and everything is still very, very green. Apparently has to do with the lack of rain and the very warm temperatures we had in the waning days of September.

          But as I looked out the window the other day, I saw this hidden clump of yellow leaves on one of the smaller trees at the edge of our yard. I’m definitely a summer person and always rather dread the cold days that bright, colorful leaves portend, but I found myself admiring this little clump of leaves. They were the “first,” and they seemed somehow so brave. Tiny prophets quietly living out the reality that, despite all evidence to the contrary, change is in the air. Few will see these little leaves, as they are so hidden among all the greens of the bigger trees.

          But they are there. And they remind me that there have been so many through the years, so many tiny prophets who have come before the more colorful, bigger-than-life prophets who have brought important changes to our lives and to our world. Before Martin Luther there were others who quietly changed their colors and looked to a newness that was bound to come to the church and to the world. Before Rosa Parks there were also others who modestly modified the colors of their lives and spoke of a change that would surely come to the social order of their day.

          And the list could go on and on. So many unknown “firsts” that have quietly heralded the news that wrongs will be righted, that change must and will come about. Often unseen. Often unacknowledged. But so real and so important.

          So thanks be to God for those hidden yellow leaves in our yard. And thanks be to God for all the hidden yellow leaves in the history of our world. Where would we be without them?  


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