The following is the text from my bulletin insert. I am designing a series of weekly inserts to help me better explain the Wesleyan Way of Discipleship. You can download a pdf of this insert at the end of blog.
This week, you are encouraged to ask a church member the following:
Can you name the Fruit of the Spirit?
In my younger days, I used to act. I was in several productions. Each production was different, yet there was one thing in common with each of them. I had to memorize my lines.
If you have never been in a stage production before, you might not realize how difficult that can be at times. You see, the playwright put those words in the order that he or she wanted them and arranged them to convey the emotion and meaning that was within them. It wouldn’t do for an actor to rewrite the script as he or she went along. You see, other people were counting on you to say your words correctly so that they could then say their words correctly.
Working on stage fosters a sense of interdependence, wherein, each person needs the other person to succeed and to do and say the correct thing. When this happens, the actors come together and the play is more likely to create the intended effect.
I think the church is like a troupe of actors. You see, we have been given a script (The Bible) and we have been asked to learn or memorize it. By knowing our lines, we can uphold one another and working together we can present a harmonious performance that allows us to experience the oneness that comes from being individual parts of the greater body of Christ.
When it comes to the script, I think that it is important for us to memorize certain parts of the Bible. This week I am challenging us to look at the fruit of the Spirit and, if we have not already done so, to commit them to memory. Wesley taught that out of the Love of Christ that was in our hearts, the first thing that would flow would be evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We will be spending a few weeks on this first ring in the Wesleyan Way of Discipleship and it is in this ring that we will talk about and question one another concerning the fruit of the Spirit.
Now, depending upon your favorite translation, the list of the fruit of the Spirit may differ somewhat from the lists that follow. That’s okay. I merely want us to be able to recite the fruit. Pick a version that is most familiar to you. That is our part of the script. That is our line in the play. That is how we will help to get God’s grace within us.
From Galatians 5:22-23 in the New Century Version we get this list:
22 But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.
Some of you may be more familiar with the King James listing of the fruit of the Spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance:
I am just a simple United Methodist pastor. I am an elder in the Holston Annual Conference. This blog is my attempt to share the insights that I have gathered from John Wesley's writings and from others more knowledgable than myself in regards to Wesley. I am not a scholar. Perhaps you could best think of me as a practical theologian.