During our summer series, Â THE GOOD FRUIT, we are naming the fruit our fellowship will Â bear as the Kingdom unfurls in our midst.Â We long for the fruitful life, both as individuals and as a community.Â This desire we feel so fiercely at times exists because we were created for such a life. Â It is God’s vision for us and for the entire creation. God longs for creation to be fruitful, Â and we are groaning and aching for that vision to come to pass. Â Â Â
The biblical model of fruitfulness starts not with our self-sufficiency – our strength, our power, our capabilities, our efforts. Â Rather, it begins with God’s presence, God’s power, Â God’s sufficiency, and God’s grace to us in our weakness. Â In order to be fruitful, we must first embrace our emptiness. Â We must embrace the truth Â that we are not enough. Â All our resources, skills, connections, gifts, and assets are not enough to fill our craving for fruitfulness. Â The life we crave will be found as we move from self-sufficiency to God dependency. Â 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. Â The baptism of repentance, Â symbolized by water baptism, Â is that moment when we take our fruitless, barren, sin-soaked lives and lay them, honestly and humbly, before GOd. Â We repent of our self-sufficiency and accept our profound need for God’s forgiveness and filling. Â 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. Â Â God also desires to give us the baptism of the Spirit. Having been brought low, the Spirit Â 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, Â 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. Â This movement however is a process. Â 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. Â As you move through ordinary time, may you experience the sufficiency of God in these manyÂ moments of emptiness and fullness. Â