Fruits of the Spirit

During our Church Service on 27 June 2010 we looked at fruits - to remind us of fruits of the Spirit - and how we should live our lives as Christians.

Dear Jesus as we try to learn together what it really means to follow you, inspire our thinking as we try to understand your word and help us be ready to change our lives and to trust you in our journey through this world. Amen

Strawberries remind us of the fruit of love: when you feel God’s love you’re like a flower that blooms. You start slow and tight and then you open up. Others watch you and feel happy. And then they want love too.. Jesus summarised our whole duty as to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbour as ourself – love is an attitude of mind and way of thinking as well as a feeling of the heart – it is also a way of behaving acting or reacting towards another person

Bananas are the fruit of Joy – they are shaped like a smile.  Joy is being happy inside even when things aren't going great.  Joy is our gift from Jesus when we abide in his love. In Johns gospel Jesus tells us As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. The Holy spirit can fill us with joy – joy is like smiling in your heart – it bubbles up in our lives and the church and overflows to reveal the kingdom of God in laughter and fun

I bring some apples – for our feast apples represent the fruit of peace – because they are cut into pieces to share. Jesus promised his disciples peace – a peace not as the world gives a peace to stop their hearts being troubled and a peace that takes away fear.
After the tumours
And cruel vicious rumours
After bodies broken
And evil words spoken
After guns cease their shooting
Troops no longer jack-booting
With the grave trodden down
And the trees now turned brown
Comes peace
   Even then        Will fall           My peace 
The peace of the Holy Spirit brings us a calmness inside and a confidence that Jesus offers us a new way of living and frees us from our sinful nature.

I bring the fruit of Patience: we need patience to wait while grapes turn into raisins. Have you ever been told to have patience?  The patience God is talking about is for those little things like waiting to open your Christmas presents or being patient to go to the park.  But it also means to be patient for answers to prayer that might take years to be answered. Patience reveals our faith in God’s timing, omnipotence, and love. God’s love is patient and as we receive this fruit from the Holy Spirit we become like Jesus

What fruit often gets taken on hospital visits in bunches?
This bunch of grapes reminds us about the fruit of Kindness. Kindness is the oil that takes the friction out of life – wherever there are people there is an opportunity for kindness. Sometimes your kind deed to someone else is all they need to remember that someone special loves them all they need to glimpse the kingdom of heaven. Kindness is catching and does a lot to bring God’s healing and hope back into our broken world.

Next we have a fruit filled with goodness:  blueberries full of goodness
God's goodness is described as abundant, enduring, and universal. You see goodness when someone is consistently seeking your good or those of another ahead of their own. The fruit of goodness changes our character so that we become more like Jesus in our walk with Him.

Our next fruit grows in pairs. Cherries
The word 'faithful' means loyal, full of faith or trust; firmly and resolutely sticking with a person, group, cause, belief, or idea, without waver. Faithfulness, like other fruit of the Spirit in us, is also a part of God's own character  That means faithfulness is a part of what is meant when speaking of our being made "in the image of God". God's faithfulness is : unfailing, infinite and beyond compare. We are called to be faithful to Jesus and other people.

Then next fruit is soft and reminds us of the fruit of gentleness – peaches..
Like the other spiritual fruit, gentleness is an aspect of God's character which God's followers take on as they follow Christ. The fruit of 'gentleness' isn't about being wishy-washy, indecisive, unassertive, or just plain wimpy. Instead, it's a refusal to use power to harm anyone, an unwillingness to cut and slash at people. A gentle person does not seek to make other people angry. Gentleness may lose battles, but it helps win the overall struggles. A gentle response tends to create fewer enemies, and more friends.

Self – control
And finally there is a fruit that cannot be hurried without making a mess : oranges need to be peeled and eaten slowly with great self control.
The Greek word used in Galatians means having command or mastery over or possession of, one's own behavior . Self control is a gift that is about asserting power over or management of one's desires, lusts, emotions, and feelings, and related behaviours, by way of one's determination or will. It is the ability to tell yourself "no" and make it stick. The ability to direct your own behaviour.

So the fruit salad is complete – The fruits have been shared
The invitation is to taste and see that God is good and allow his qualities to become our qualities – to allow ourselves to become like Jesus.
In a moment of silence think about the special fruit of the Holy Spirit that you want to eat and take away with you today – the fruit that will help you to follow Jesus and change the world in this coming week Amen