But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such, there is no law.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right—Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.
The Message Bible
Have you taken a long look at the fruits of the spirit that Paul lists to the Galatians? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
I am using these to help with my spiritual life this Lenten season, which is fast approaching.
The time of Lent in the Christian year is almost upon us. Having been raised in the Catholic faith, we took Lent seriously, this 40-day cycle from Ash Wednesday to just before Easter Sunday—a special time of personal reflection, prayer, penance, and other acts of faith. For me, it is a way of walking with Jesus, and thinking of the road we are all called to travel.
From where I sit today, I have to admit that sometimes I realize that Lent is upon us, and it feels like an obligation and duty that would be easier to sail right by and begin singing Easter Alleluias.
Something that happened to me recently reminded me of the duty part of things.
I had gotten an official letter that told me I was being called up to serve jury duty on a certain day. Where I live, this is something able-bodied and -minded citizens are called upon to do from time to time. By law, we must report as scheduled and be available, if chosen, to sit with other jurors to hear and give our verdict on a court case. It is a civic duty that I don’t mind so much, except when “not convenient.”
The Monday I was scheduled to serve I’d worked on my frame of mind so I could do a good job—but then an emergency came up and I couldn’t be there on time.
After not being able to find anyone to explain to what had happened and afraid I was really in trouble all on top of dealing with the emergency—- to my surprise I did find someone to talk to and received a kind listening ear, understanding, and an “all clear.” That made my whole day and week as well!
You may be asking, how in the world does jury duty tie in with Lent? Well, sometimes, taking the time to take Lent seriously seems like something I have to do, don’t really want to do at all, or begrudge. When the time comes, I am not ready to walk with God in the darkness into the light of day this Easter.
And then I remember who God is and the grace God’s Spirit provides even when we show up late or do things imperfectly. I am reminded that part of walking with God and preparing myself, is trying to become like that Spirit of God, in my prayer life, penance, and preparation for Easter.
This year I am taking those fruits of the Spirit and using them to help me pray, reflect, prepare, and act in the world around me.
This is the schedule I have written up.
Fruits of the Spirit Walk Through Lent
LOVE: Ash Wednesday, March 6
JOY: Sunday, March 10
PEACE: Sunday, March 17
PATIENCE: Sunday, March 24
KINDNESS: Sunday, March 31
GOODNESS: Sunday, April 7
FAITHFULNESS: Palm Sunday, April 14
GENTLENESS: Maundy Thursday, April 18.
SELF-CONTROL: Good Friday, April 19
If you would be interested in following along, I welcome you to follow along or modify this as it suits your needs.
Or you may choose some other way to help up focus on “showing up” this Lenten season.
Easter becomes more relevant and special when we can meet God with our thoughtful preparation.
Lent is only a season but affects our souls for the whole year. Get your Lent on!
Work through the Lenten season
Have a happy and joyous Easter!
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