Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Importance of Dirt

That' s the title of a sermon from two weeks ago. I am doing a series on the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

In the process of preparing for the series I was struck in a new way that I could not just start expounding about the fruit! Not when I can look around me and see stunted, deformed, shriveled or non existent "fruit" in the lives of many believers. What is wrong?

I don't think I have ever heard anyone talk about the spiritual root system that grows the spiritual tree (us) that produces the fruit.

"May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's love." That's from Ephesians. In Colossians we are told that Jesus Christ himself is the soil, and we must be planted in, and drawing nourishment from, Him. What does this mean? How do we do this? How are we, in a spiritual sense, "planted" into love? Is our lack of fruit connected to a lack of awareness of the love of God in our own lives? Is it something else that stops us from being "nourished" by Jesus Christ? How does this happen? I gave everyone in church a little bag of good rich soil with the Ephsians verse printed on it. I asked them to pray both for themsleves and for others to be rooted in God's love.

Last week I talked about the water and the air (the Holy Spirit), and gave everyone a balloon. Next week I will start with the first fruit, LOVE and everyone will get a valentine. But I'm still pondering the root problem.


Anonymous said...

Hmm...excellent "what's the 'root'" question Dorcas! I'm a simple person and don't like to complicate things needlessly so this might sound too basic but I'm thinking along these lines:
-The fruit of the Spirit isn't something that we can produce on our own but is the combined characteristics of the Holy Spirit living in us that are revealed in our daily living (thoughts, speech, actions). So, there's the source.
- Now...how to 'tap' into it with a root? Maybe this involves our conscious choosing to be filled/controlled by the Spirit; our daily willingness to plug into this source with our minds & hearts.
No real or consistent fruit will be visible if someone is not "filled" with the Spirit, "living" and "walking" in the Spirit, "led" by the Spirit and this isn't going to happen without regular confession and intimacy with God. That's the nuts and bolts practicality of the Christian life.
I guess what I'm saying is that the 'root' might just be all that we do to consciously & deliberately connect ourselves with the source - confession, prayer, praise, thanksgiving, supplications, Bible study etc.. because having the 'abundant' life is all about having an abundance of God in our lives. And the sad truth is, each of us have about as much of God as we want; I'm as spiritual as I want to be and no more. But for the world and/or discouraged Christians to 'taste and see' that God is good I need to be showing and giving them some of His fruit. I don't think most of us quite grasp the concept that the filling and subsequent fruit of the Spirit won't just change our lives but it will change our days. We have a very 'happening' and 'now' God! (smile) Wish I could listen to your series! Maureen

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Maureen, it is not too basic. I'm a pretty simple person too. :-)

Besides, I pastor a congregation of blue collar folk, most of whom have a high school education. I have to be aware of that often, because I tend to use words they don't know withoug ever meaning to do that. I always love your thoughts and posts and emails and think we must be somewhat alike in several ways. I wish I could meet you in person! Anyway, thanks for the comment. I am thinking about how the "fruit won't just change our lives but change our days." That is good!

Rick Schrager said...

Simple guy here, but you already know that ;)

"Fruit" besides being something snack on is also a "seed"; The vessel of new life.

Tricky things seeds are - they can lie dormant for months, years before sprouting.

Seeds -are the product of maturity - not necessarily in a temporal sense but that of experience, its own, and the generations before it.

Spiritual seeds are no different. They sprout in the most unusual places and unseemly times -

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Rick, hello!

Thanks for reading. I am thinking about what you said. I think you may have inspired me to really try my first 17 syllable poem. I will let you know. :-)

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew, but this often leaves me puzzled, to be honest. I don't KNOW how to tap into God's love. Not for sure. Sometimes I get glimpses of it, but they get obscured by people abandoning me, or attacking me, or sight of extreme poverty and suffering.

Last night, when we were wiping off this young man with wet facecloths, because he was covered in a laywer of blood and dirt, I couldn't help but wonder - HOW, LORD? How is it that a human being can be in such a condition, and you'd permit this? The universe truly seems empty of meaning in those moments, and even empty of God.

I don't know what the answer is, actually. Once you find out, be sure to email me.