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Fruits of the Spirit

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Psalm 1:1-3 & Galatians 5:1,13, 16, 22-25
Family Communion
(30-6-13)

Here we have a tree – just in case it isn’t immediately recognizable as such! You can see it has green leaves and it is meant to bear some similarity to the tree in this reading: Psalm 1:1-3. In many parts of Israel where the psalm was written it would have been unusual to see a tree because of the hot sun and dry winds. Can you remember what made the difference to this tree, according to the psalm? It was planted near a river. Some translations say near streams of living water. No matter how much sun there was this tree could still get refreshment and strength. You couldn’t see the water – but it was there.

The psalm says that believers should be like that in a way. We should be depending on God as the tree depends on the water. In a drought lots of plants die but trees are usually OK aren’t they? That’s because their roots go down very deep and fins water flowing underground. As a tree uses its roots to take in the water what would be the equivalent for us. What things do we use to ‘drink in’ the life of God?

We need 4 volunteers to come and look under the roots on our tree and read what it says please? These are the ways that we drink in God’s Holy Spirit:

  • Prayer
  • Worship
  • Christian friendship
  • Reading the Bible

If we are drawing on the living waters should expect something else as well shouldn’t we? What else is growing on the tree apart from leaves? Fruit! The water that is drawn in through the roots helps to ‘make’ the fruit. That is what is supposed to happen to us as Christians. And if you remember last week our Sunday School looked at the passage that we are looking at this week and discovered that St Paul says that we should be able to spot – how many - fruits in our lives?

Let’s look at what these fruit are? Well for a start off I wonder if anyone has noticed a bit of a difference between the fruit I’ve used and the way people usually represent it? Usually it would be 9 different types of fruit – apple, orange, banana etc. What have I used? Raspberries – there’s a reason for that, could have been blackberries, loganberries. They are one fruit made up of lots of little separate bits of fruit (drupelets) aren’t they? I’ve done that because St Paul wrote this in Greek and the way he has written it he uses a singular word for fruit rather than a plural one So I thought it would be a good idea to show it a bit more how it was meant to be.

Each little bobble (drupelet) I’ve labelled on the back with the 9 fruits that St Paul speaks of as being what a Christian should produce in their own life. Now, who can remember what the 9 are – without looking at the reading! You can’t tell what’s going on inside a tree. It may look as if nothing is happening inside the trunk but rally there is a lot of action going on. The result of that action is fruit. Fruit is the result of all of the inner life of a tree.

In the same way it is hard to tell what is going on inside a person. You can’t see actually what they think or feel BUT those thoughts and feeling result in actions and then you can tell what has been going on inside. The actions, or the things that come out of people’s lives is a result of what’s gone in and on in a person. So if we see lots of hate and selfishness inside and that results in lies and greed. Others have a lot of good things going on inside and that results in good fruit or actions like love, kindness and faithfulness.

Here’s a summary of what these things mean:

Love: can be costly in time & effort needed but has its own rewards.

Joy is having something to smile about even when things go wrong Joy, hoping for tomorrow even if you feel miserable today. Happiness is fragile, it depends on good things 'happening'. Joy is tough and means having something to be happy about that events cannot spoil.

Peace is not just about there being NO fighting Peace is more than that and is when everything is right between people (you might not be fighting but you might be sulking)

Patience: forbearance and also not just about waiting – it means making the most of what you are doing now, not wasting today in thinking about the exciting thing that is happening tomorrow.

Gentleness: we all need to become more gentle. Anyone can be rough, nasty it is hard to be gentle when someone is lonely or sad.

Kindness: kindness is love with its sleeves rolled-up and getting on with the job of loving others

Goodness: this is a time when it is OK to copy – as long as its Jesus. He was good – copy Him, don’t be bad!

Faithfulness: being loyal even when times are difficult. Not letting others down.

Self-Control: doing what we know is right, not being easily led away from right, standing by what is right

What kind of fruit do you grow on your tree? What sort of actions are there being shown in your life? Remember that you will only be able to produce these wonderful fruits of the Spirit if you stay in touch with God. Like the tree with its roots deep down in the water we need to have our roots deep down into God St Teresa said ‘Christians should be like trees planted upside down – with their roots in heaven and their fruit on earth’!

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