Fruits of the Spirit: Love ❤️
Thank you for sending in your inspiring pictures of how you see the Holy Spirit!
This morning we begin a series of reflections on the fruits of the Spirit that Paul describes to his readers in Galatia – and every bit as relevant to us today.
We begin with love. Before reading Ros Hughes’s reflection, you might want to pause and pray using two images that certainly represent love in action:
Ray Lingwood’s image of those who gave their lives in the Armed Forces
Anne Carr’s picture of Medical Scrubs on a washing line
Click here to send your picture of how you see the Spirit of God at work in the world today.
‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.’
Galatians 5: 22,23
‘Ffrwyth yr Ysbryd yw cariad, llawenydd, tangnefedd, goddefgarwch, caredigrwydd, daioni, ffyddlondeb,addfwynder, hunan-ddisgyblaeth.’
Galatiaid 5: 22,23
Traditional design of Armenian Cross carved in local stone taken when touring the monasteries and mountains of Armenia
Ros Hughes writes:
Many of us have heard some very learned teachings and sermons on these well-known bible verses and when Eryl suggested writing some thoughts and reflections my initial reaction was quite cowardly – I responded that I would consider the word ‘fruit’! It appeared to me the easiest word in these verses to interpret because it has an obvious, tangible definition – ‘the sweet, fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seeds and can be eaten as food’. Easy – we all know this. But, on reflection, the word fruit when used in this context in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, is a powerful image of present sustenance and future hope of new and increased growth. This is, of course, something that seems relevant and needed in our present time. It also resonates with the words of Jesus in St. John’s Gospel: ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.’
If we then look at the next words in the verses from Galatians, we find we are faced with words that are intangible qualities. This makes the words very difficult to define accurately because they indicate an emotion or experience which can become subjective to individual interpretation. Just like the word spirit, words like love and joy do not in themselves make clear sense, unless they are expressed through an action. Then, they become an understandable reality.
At this time of the Church year, Pentecost, we are aware that the Book of Acts describes actions and an evident reality, a result of the coming of the Holy Spirit. And its first fruit we see of the Spirit is LOVE. Many books have been written on this subject, so it is difficult to know where to start! One place is to consider how we have personally been touched by love in these past few weeks. In other words, why don’t we pause for a moment and reflect on how we have felt God’s love come to us recently? Many of us might first think of the words and actions of people who have given us time or shown us care and compassion.
Jesus spoke, taught and expressed love in actions throughout His life here on Earth and, of course, He left us with these simple commandments: The first is ‘You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22. True love is reflected in a response or action so let’s take a moment now to reflect how we can respond today to this commandment. ‘The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ Again, how are we witnessing this around us at the present time and how can we personally express this in action today?
As Jesus sat with His disciples at the Last Supper, some of His final words were about love and we subsequently know of His complete act of love in the Easter story. ‘A new commandment I give to you that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ John 13.
And so we pray that the Holy Spirit guides us to be open to love – and that we let the love of Jesus work in us to more fully know and love God our Father and be better able to act with love to understand and support the people who our lives can touch today.
Eternal God and Father,
you create and redeem us by the power of your love:
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit
that we give ourselves
in love and service to one another and to you:
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Church in Wales – Daily Prayer – Morning
Dduw a Thad tragwyddol,
yr wyt ein creu a’n hachub trwy rym dy gariad:
tywys a nertha ni trwy dy Ysbryd
fel y rhoddwn ein hunain
mewn cariad a gwasanaeth i ti ac i’n gilydd,
trwy Iesu Grist ein Harglwydd.
Yr Eglwys yng Nghymru – Gwasanaeth Dyddiol – Bore
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