This Week at St. Stephen’s–March 03, 2013

HERE WE GROW AGAIN

Mar 03There are many different ways to understand the Season of Lent.  The movie Chcolat, with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp presents the story of a vivacious chocolatier who opens her chocolate shop in an austere French village just in time for the start of Lent, for them a time of strict fasting, penitence and self-restraint.  Yet rather than bringing forth a spirit of charity and Christian humility, many villagers instead embody jealousy, self-righteousness, and zeal for judging others.  So what is the fasting for, if we do not go deeper in loving God, and loving our neighbour as our selves?

The Apostle Paul contrasts the “works of the flesh” from the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5: 19, 22).  Works are what we set ourselves to accomplish, something we produce because we have willed it.  But a tree does not grow fruit because it wills it, but because producing fruit is integral to the tree’s very nature, part of what it means for the tree to be a tree.  Paul tells us, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

This Lent, our theme is growing, like seedlings, into God’s tender love.  Lent is a time for getting back to the basics of our faith, and deepening in love and grace.  As we grow this way together, let us uphold in ourselves and each another those fruits we see growing in our community, and grow deeper.

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