Jun 22, 2012

During our summer series,  THE GOOD FRUIT, we are naming the fruit our fellowship will  bear as the Kingdom unfurls in our midst. We long for the fruitful life, both as individuals and as a community.  This desire we feel so fiercely at times exists because we were created for such a life.  It is God’s vision for us and for the entire creation. God longs for creation to be fruitful,  and we are groaning and aching for that vision to come to pass.     

The biblical model of fruitfulness starts not with our self-sufficiency – our strength, our power, our capabilities, our efforts.   Rather, it begins with God’s presence, God’s power,  God’s sufficiency, and God’s grace to us in our weakness.   In order to be fruitful, we must first embrace our emptiness.  We must embrace the truth  that we are not enough.  All our resources, skills, connections, gifts, and assets are not enough to fill our craving for fruitfulness.   The life we crave will be found as we move from self-sufficiency to God dependency.  As Richard Rohr says, the way down is the way up. Over and again the writer of Acts mentions two baptisms – the baptism of repentance and the baptism of the Spirit.  The baptism of repentance,  symbolized by water baptism,  is that moment when we take our fruitless, barren, sin-soaked lives and lay them, honestly and humbly, before GOd.  We repent of our self-sufficiency and accept our profound need for God’s forgiveness and filling.  This baptism of repentance is a gift of grace, a portal into a life of fruitfulness.

The baptism of repentence is only half the gift that God wants to give us.   God also desires to give us the baptism of the Spirit. Having been brought low, the Spirit  lifts us up, fills our emptiness, permeates our weakness, and infuses us with God’s presence, God’s power, and God’s guidance. As we begin to depend on the Spirit,  listen to the Spirit, and obey the Spirit, we begin to experience a new kind of fruitfulness. We move out of the impotence of self-sufficiency into the fruitfulness of God-dependency.   This movement however is a process.  We are recovering addicts, learning to weaning ourselves off of our addiction to self-sufficiency, and our healing takes a lifetime.

This season of Ordinary Time gives us plenty of opportunity for repentance and plenty of occasions to ask for the Spirit’s help.  As you move through ordinary time, may you experience the sufficiency of God in these many moments of emptiness and fullness.  

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