The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…. Galatians 5:22,23
Autumn, to the poet, is ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and at the end of this month and the beginning of next the fruitfulness of autumn’s harvests will be celebrated in our schools and churches with displays and familiar hymns. Farmers, gardeners and allotmenteers will be glad to see a return for their work. Jam jars and freezers will be filled in readiness for colder months ahead. It’s good to give thanks to God for every sign of fruitfulness. Look for the fruit.
As beings made in the image of God, it’s not surprising that we ourselves are creative, fruit-bearing people. We enjoy the fruit of our own and others’ labours; but there’s also the fruit of our relationships, developing in the lives of those we love. Whether these are children or grandchildren, friends, god-children, a niece or nephew, or our parents, love is so often freely given, taking the form of time, listening, caring, praying, with no thought of a return. It may be easier to spot in some cases than others, but fruit is always there in the lives of those our lives touch. Look for the fruit.
Our Christian lives and the life we share in the church are designed to follow the same pattern. ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ (as in the quote above) grows so slowly within as we make space for God that we may not notice it; but others will. A lot of what we do as church members will feel like labours of love: organising, fundraising, cleaning, cooking and serving, direct giving of money; all in support of the church’s mission and maintenance, and of humanitarian causes like those highlighted in this year’s harvest giving focus on water. And there’s the fruit of relationships here, too: in those we walk with on our faith journeys, listen to, befriend and visit; in those with whom we share the precious gift of our experience of the love of God in Jesus Christ; people of all kinds and ages whom God is calling into a loving community. Again, this kind of fruit can be hard to spot, but might take the form of new gifts offered, new ministries begun, faith kindled, and commitments made.
It’s all God’s harvest; look for the fruit, and let’s celebrate what we see.
Yours in Christ, Simon.