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Spiritual Fruit

Today I am preparing my sermon on 'being joyful' ready for Advent 3 on Sunday.  Without giving the game away (as so many church folk now follow my online waffle) I will majoring on the imperative to rejoice (to be joyful) and specifically to 'rejoice in the Lord' in Philippians 4:4.  However, as I have been pondering the characteristics of joy (which is not an emotion but a part of the fruit of the spirit) I found myself drawing up a list not unlike the great hymn to love in 1 Corinthians 13 (and to which I made reference in last week's sermon) and recalling how on a previous occasion when pondering characterstics of 'hope' I had been drawn to Hebrews 11 on faith.

Today a penny dropped - which probably did for everyone else decades ago.  Of course I will find myself spotting similarities in these characterstics because they are are all part of the one fruit.  Perhaps it is because we too often slip into the idea of 'fruits' (and I have to confess I have tended to permit myself that dodginess when exploring the 'fruit' in all age contexts, my 'Galatian 5 fruit salad' approach) or because if we try to get it 'right' we have each characterstic as a segment of an orange (i.e. still distinct and identifiable) that we (or I anyway) fail to appreciate the interconnectedness and interchangeability of the words in some of the 'great passages' and how the charactertistics augment and can be similar to each other

So, anyway, I won't be preaching on this per se on Sunday but if you fancy an 'exercise for student' why not try to list some characteristics of love or joy or peace or patience or whatever and then compare them with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 or Hebrews 11: 1-3 or any other passage that leaps to mind.

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