Fruit of the Spirit: A summer lunch series

News | June 2, 2016

How can I tell if God is at work in my life? How can I know that my faith is making a difference in the way I live? Author Anne Lamott answers these questions beautifully in her book Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.

“Imagining God can be so different from wishful thinking, if your spiritual experiences change your behavior over time. Have you become more generous, which is the ultimate healing? Or more patient, which is a close second? Did your world become bigger and juicier and more tender? Have you become ever so slightly kinder to yourself?” she writes.

This is how you tell if faith in God is making any difference for you at all, Lamott says.

For five weeks this summer, St. Paul pastors and staff will lead a lunch-time series about the fruit of the spirit, nine attributes of a Christian life according to Paul in his letter to the Galatians. He writes, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Bring a sack lunch and come to the Library Commons, Wednesdays, June 29-July 27, 12 noon-1 p.m., for a discussion about the fruit of the spirit.
JUNE 29: Overview and Love – Ryan Bailey and Tammy Hermanson
JULY 6: Joy and Peace – Katy Warren and Andy Langdon
JULY 13: Patience and Kindness – Amy Diller and Ann McGlynn
JULY 20: Gentleness and Self-Control – Sara Olson-Smith and Karen Holden
JULY 27: Generosity and Faithfulness – Peter Marty and Dana Welser

Fruit is a familiar metaphor in the Bible. In Matthew 7, Jesus explains that good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit, and it cannot be different. Clearly, the fruit of the Spirit is good fruit, and Paul contrasts it with the “works” of the sinful nature. These include impurity, idolatry, sorcery, strife, jealousy, anger, envy, and carousing.

God wants us to be good trees that bear good fruit, but God doesn’t expect us to cultivate such virtue in isolation. To tend the precious orchard that is the church, God sends the Spirit. When we notice those fruits that Paul talks about appearing in our lives – when we become more generous or patient, when we experience more joy and peace and so on – we can be sure that the Master Arborist is at work.

Ryan Bailey, director of faith formation

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