Fruits of the Spirit: Patience ⌚
Today’s focus is on the fourth fruit of the Spirit, as listed in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. After yesterday’s beautiful images of God’s created world as we reflected on peace, our pictures today seem much more utilitarian! But what a great match they make: Rosemary’s suggestion of the Holy Spirit as the ever-present pilot light that waits to be used at the right time, and Eryl’s reflection on the virtue of patience – particularly as we wait in a queue! It really does remind us of the Spirit of God at work in our everyday lives.
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When I see the pilot light on the Gas Boiler it reminds me of the Holy Spirit.
Always there waiting silently to provide power just when needed, just at the right time.
A pilot, after all, leads and guides. Pilot boats lead large liners and container ships safely into harbour. The light guides in safety and to safety.
‘But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.’
2 Peter 3: 8-9
‘Peidiwch anghofio hyn, ffrindiau annwyl: I’r Arglwydd mae un diwrnod fel mil o flynyddoedd, a mil o flynyddoedd fel un diwrnod. Dydy Duw ddim yn hwyr yn gwneud beth mae wedi’i addo, fel mae rhai’n meddwl am fod yn hwyr. Bod yn amyneddgar gyda chi mae e. Does ganddo ddim eisiau i unrhyw un fynd i ddistryw. Mae e am roi cyfle i bawb newid eu ffyrdd.’
2 Pedr 3: 8-9
Reverend Eryl Parry writes:
This reflection is going to require honesty. Who among us cannot honestly identify with the following observation:
The quality you admire in the driver behind you,
but can’t stand in the driver who’s in front of you.’
We are always in a hurry, with an urge to pack as much into our lives as possible. As a country, we are proposing investing an estimated nearly £90 billion in a new ‘HS2’ rail network, with the principle benefit of shaving crucial minutes off a train journey. We’re living in an era of instant access to information via the Internet. We are used to consuming all we need on demand, including the programs we watch and things we can buy in a global marketplace. If we have the means, we don’t have to wait for anything now… or do we?
The pandemic we are living through is teaching us a great deal about patience. All of us are having to wait for the freedoms we took for granted. And here’s a big question that needs an honest answer: What approach are we taking? The dictionary definition of patience is: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Most of us have experienced anxiety and many of us profound disappointment, particularly when plans for the immediate future have gone awry.
It is, perhaps, at times like this that we all have the chance to understand the workings of the Holy Spirit in the parts of our character that we find most challenging. Because, just like the driver who is being held back by the car in front, if we are anxious in that moment, it is only because we are thinking of ourselves. We are held back in a queue at the supermarket, because of the need to not only think of our own safety, but that of others. Those who have the unenviable job of deciding at what point to lift restrictions, are challenged to exercise judgement on the length of wait we have, for the safety of the most vulnerable in our communities. That requires prudent patience.
The essence of patience, I believe, is a generosity of spirit that thinks of others before oneself. In Paul’s list of fruits, it should come as no surprise that patience comes straight after peace. The ability we learned yesterday to be still, and wait on God for the freedom and fruitfulness into which He leads us. Faith waits.
How much more, after this extraordinary time of waiting, will we treasure the things we took for granted at the beginning of March! We may also recognise, in hindsight, that this time will have been one in which we have been given the chance to grow spiritually. And that is always about learning how, through listening to the lessons of God, we can grow more into His likeness. For our heavenly Father, of course, has been endlessly patient with us.
Eternal God and Father,
forgive our weakness,
assure us again of your forgiveness,
inspire us with your love,
and renew us in your service.
Take what we are,
and make us what we long to be
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dduw a Thad tragwyddol,
maddau ein gwendidau,
a sicrha ni o’th faddeuant unwaith yn rhagor;
ysbrydola ni â’th gariad
ac adnewydda ni yn dy wasanaeth.
Cymer ni fel yr ydym,
a gwna ni yr hyn yr hoffem fod
trwy Iesu Grist ein Harglwydd.
Nick Fawcett cyf. Aled Davies
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