The fruit of the Spirit is needed in the Church: then and now

Written by allsaints on Jun 04, 2015 in - No Comments

Banner Article 5/29/15 – Submitted by The Rev. Anita M. Slovak, Pastor, All Saints’ Episcopal Church

The fruit of the Spirit is needed in the Church: then and now

This past Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost. In the Christian faith, this day falls fifty days after Easter.  It is the day in Scripture when the disciples of Jesus received the power of the Holy Spirit, which comes in the form of a violent wind and tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-3).  The disciples began to speak boldly to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the world, something they had not done prior to receiving the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is one of the three great Jewish feasts (fifty days after Passover), even before it was a Christian celebration. Many Israelites would go as pilgrims to Jerusalem during these days, to adore God in the Temple. The feast originated from a very ancient thanksgiving celebration, in gratitude to God for the yearly harvest about to be reaped. Later, another motive was added to this day’s celebration with the remembrance of the dissemination of the Law given by God on Mount Sinai. Many Jews would travel to the Holy City of Jerusalem on this feast day.  For Christians, Pentecost is the dramatic coming of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the public revelation of the Church on earth.  Many in the Church attribute Pentecost as the birth of the Church”.

Scripture’s description of the first coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples is a “violent wind.  Here in Oklahoma, that might not conjure up very good emotions.  We think of devastating tornados and we know the power behind them. So, just think of the power behind the Holy Spirit.  The gift of the Holy Spirit provided the disciples with the strength and power to bring the knowledge and love of Jesus to those they met.  Because of their new boldness, many people were converted to be followers of Jesus Christ and Christianity spread very rapidly. The Spirit also guided the early disciples, reminding them of Jesus’ teachings and helping them to understand them.

Today, that same action of the Holy Spirit is still available and alive in the Church through being baptized.  Traditionally, the Church teaches that there are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, right judgment, determination, knowledge, devoutness and fear of the Lord. The Holy Spirit affects the individual to alert us to the silent voice of God within; helping us by God’s gently guiding hand.  Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we grow in the knowledge of the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. When a person is receptive to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Scripture tells us we become the good tree which is known by its fruits (Matthew 12:33). The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians (5:22), names nine fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives, they are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I am sure all of us would like to have more of all of these in our lives.

Our hope reflects the joy of the Spirit in us, and we should strive to continue to grow in faithfulness to the constant motions and inspirations of the Holy Spirit within us. Let us all ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten our understanding in order to recognize God’s will in our lives and to enable us to act with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did this consistently?   Come Holy Spirit – Come.