Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
With the recent death of James Gandolfini I was reminded that many people view our state, New Jersey, in terms of The Sopranos. They think we all have that accent and live in Newark or Joisey City amid urban waste. Those of us who live here, particularly in South Jersey, are keenly aware that we are The Garden State. Throughout the spring and summer the local fruits and vegetables delight us in stores and farmers markets. I wish those beyond our borders could see that side of us more often. Same with the church, both in the broad scope and individual congregations. Too many see us as mean spirited and judgmental, criticizing and talking behind people’s backs about how good we are and how bad they are. I know this happens. But those of us in the church also know that the vast majority of the time things like these fruits of the Spirit listed above are happening too. Every time I read this list I think about what a wonderful world it would be if everyone was displaying these virtues, and I also think about the places in my life where I have encountered them. Many times it has been at church or through the folks there. Where do you find these in your life? How will you let God grow them this week?