Weekly Reflection

The weekly reflection can be found in the weekly email newsletter or here on the website. 

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Fruits of the Spirit

8/27/20

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Proper 17 BCP 233)

If you happen to watch our weekly Porch Pondering videos, you'll know that I have started a series on the Fruits of the Spirit. The list of the fruits of the Spirit come from Paul's letter to the Galatians, chapter 5, verses 22-23. Paul was exhorting the Galatians to stay away from bad behaviors and instead let the fruits of the Spirit grow in them, and he elaborates by specifically listing nine fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The Collect for this coming Sunday asks God to "bring forth in us the fruit of good works." When we follow the way of Jesus and follow his teachings and actions, we start to grow God's fruit within us. However, if you've ever watched fruit grow, as I have done, sitting and waiting for the strawberry plants to flower, bud, grow, get bigger, turn red and ripen, you'll know growing fruit is a long process. It takes patience and self-control to allow fruit to grow!

Yet, if you have waited through the process, you know the fruit is worth the wait. The same inside of us. The growth of the fruits of the Spirit can take a while, we have to wait and watch, we have to learn each of them in turn, but in the end, the fruit is worth the wait and growth. God gives us marvelous gifts through the fruits of the Spirit. I invite you to sit and pray, to wait and watch today, to let God grow the fruits of the Spirit in you. (I also invite you to watch the videos on our Facebook or YouTube channels if you haven't already!)


"wherever and However we Gather"


8/20/20

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Proper 16 BCP 232)

 

A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit among the People of God

God of all power and love, we give thanks for your unfailing presence and the hope you provide in times of uncertainty and loss. Send your Holy Spirit to enkindle in us your holy fire. Revive us to live as Christ’s body in the world: a people who pray, worship, learn, break bread, share life, heal neighbors, bear good news, seek justice, rest and grow in the Spirit. Wherever and however we gather, unite us in common prayer and send us in common mission, that we and the whole creation might be restored and renewed, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

In May, during the festival celebration of Pentecost, Presiding Bishops Elizabeth Eaton and Michael Curry, of the Lutheran and Episcopal Churches respectively, asked Episcopalians and Lutherans to pray these words during this summer. Knowing the ever changing unknowns we are facing, these words bring comfort and discomfort, reminding of us of who we are and whose we are, while reminding of us of the work we are called to do wherever and however we can. As I have been praying them for the last couple of months, I keep coming back to those words, "wherever and however we gather." In reflecting  on the Collect for this coming Sunday, these words, along with the Collect's understanding of the Church being gathered, and the words of another common Morning Prayer supplication, "where two or three are gathered" have collided in my head.

 

While we have struggled with not being able to gather together as a full church the last couple of months, we have been gathering in all sorts of ways. Two or three of us meet, intentionally or accidentally, at the grocery store, at the curb market, for food pantry box packing, on Liberty St., on Zoom. In all those instances, the church goes with us, Jesus is present, God is at work. The true Church of Jesus Christ has never been a building, but the interconnected people of God, wherever and however they have gathered. Together, in twos and threes, we are spreading the church everywhere we go.

God's will is not human will

8/7/20

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Proper 14 BCP 232)

It is hard to truly always be right. We like to think we are always right, about everything, naturally. However, we all do come to terms with being wrong occasionally. The Collect for this coming Sunday prays for God to help us always think and do what is right, so that we can live according to God's will. While we may think we are always right on human terms, this is a whole different story.

Thinking and doing and living according to God's right will is very different than simply doing what seems right in human terms. God's way of doing things doesn't always seem right in human terms, so living according to God's will doesn't always look consistent with human will. While we hold up fairness in human activities, where everyone gets an equal share, God treats the poor with greater abundance. While we hold up meritocracy, receiving things based on what you accomplish, God gives abundantly despite and in disregard for what people have earned.

Living according to God's will requires a strong relationship with God and the community. In such relationships, prayer and worship directs us to what is right in God's will. It doesn't always look right in human terms, but God's rightness is so much better than our rightness. We only see in part, where God can see beyond all time.