5 Easter B April 29, 2018
Acts 8:26-40 Psalm 22:24-30
1 John 4:7-21 John 15:1-8
Alex: Last week, we read about Jesus being the Good Shepherd and we are sheep of his flock. This week we move from animal metaphors to plant metaphors and we can understand this metaphor about vines and branches, because everywhere around us we can see vineyards. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” And he also said that “God the Father is the Vinedresser or the one who takes care of the vineyard.” I am wondering where we can find God, the Holy Spirit, in this metaphor about the Vine and branches?
In this metaphor, we would have to say that the Holy Spirit would be the Holy Sap. That does not sound very nice, because we know it is not nice to call someone a “sap.”
But sap is like plant blood. It is what keeps a plant alive and well. So, the Holy Spirit is the Holy Sap, or the flow of life between the branches and the vine. The Holy Spirit is our connection with Christ and because we have the Holy Spirit we can abide in Christ and Christ can abide in us.
What does the sap allow a plant to do? It allows a plant to have leaves, blossoms and fruit. Jesus said that we should bear fruit in our lives. St. Paul said that there are fruits of the Spirit. And my friends are going to share with us the fruits of the Spirit.
Stephanie: Love is a fruit of the Spirit. Love is so great, that love is the best definition of God. God is Love. It is not enough to say that God is love; we also have to love each other and that is not always so easy. This is way we need the life-giving sap of the Holy Spirit to help us achieve the great fruit of living, the fruit of love. And one of the fringe benefits is, we can write Country Western Songs, too.
Rebecca: Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Joy is different from happiness. Happiness depends upon what happens; joy is something that we can have even when unhappy things are happening in our lives. Joy is a fruit and a gift of God and it is like magic. Why does a tiny little baby smile? It could be that joy is an original gift of God and fruit of the Spirit because we are just happy and don’t know why we are happy.
Chike: Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Peace happens outside of us when people stop fighting and when wars end. But peace is something inside of us. If we can find peace inside of us, it will help us be peaceful with each other. Peace is such a great fruit of the Spirit that we pass the Peace each Sunday, to remind ourselves how important it is for us practice kindness and forgiveness.
Catherine: Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. Why do we need patience? Because we cannot have everything right away when we want it. We have to wait for many things in life. Sometimes it is not easy to wait for things. Patience is required because we live in Time. Time means we have to wait for new things to happen because we cannot do or have everything all at once. If we have patience we can learn to wait for the many good things that God wants for us in our lives. Amen. I can’t wait for my sermon to get done. Patience, Catherine, Patience!
Sasha: Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit. Why do we like little babies and puppies? There is something very attractive about gentleness. Innocence and gentleness awakens something in us and when we see gentleness, we want to be gentle too. Everyone needs the comfort of gentleness in life because life can bring sadness, suffering and disappointment. We often need gentleness to heal us and make us feel better again. This is why gentleness is an important fruit of Holy Spirit.
Daniella: Goodness is a fruit of the Spirit. We need goodness as a special gift of God’s Spirit because when bad things happen, we can begin to believe that bad things and evil are stronger and more normal than goodness. The life of God’s Spirit within us is like a deep well of goodness. This helps us to remember that Goodness is what is natural and normal in life and it reminds us not to let evil and badness have more power in this life than they deserve. The Fruit of the Goodness helps us to flex our goodness muscles and overcome evil with good.
Alec: Humility of is a fruit of the Spirit. I wish I could say that I was proud of my humility but that would be a contradiction. We can be proud of ourselves and have self-esteem but at the same time we can make room for other people to be proud of themselves and have self-esteem too. When we have the fruit of humility, it means that we have learned to make plenty of room for other people. A story in the Bible says that the original sin of Lucifer, the Devil, was Pride. He thought that he was bigger than God and so he revolted. With the fruit of humility, we can recognize God’s greatness and that God’s greatness provides enough room for everyone. When we are humble, we do not need to tell people how great we are; we let our actions speak for themselves.
Caroline: Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. To be patient we need the fruit of self-control because we can’t have everything exactly when we want it. We have to have some very strong muscles inside of us to be able to say “no.” We cannot speed all the time; we have to have the ability to take our foot off the accelerators of our lives. Self-control means that we all have to learn to be our own heroes, because learning to control our behaviors is the biggest challenge all our lives. We have to control what we do and say and when we take on some bad habits, we really need the fruit of self-control to help us enjoy the good things through portion control. If we learn self-control, we can all become our own superheroes.
Rylie: Wow, there are lots of good clusters of grapes growing on our branches as we remain connected with Jesus as the Vine. We want to continue to bear the good fruits of Spirit. We want the Holy Sap of God Spirit flowing inside of us to keep us abiding in Jesus Christ. We are in the season of spring when we can see the blossoms on the tree. We want to be fruitful Christians. And we can be as we abide in Christ.
Jesus, you are the vine and we are your branches.
Holy Spirit, you keep us connected with Jesus to help us grow fruits of the Spirit.
God, we are able to love because you are love.
We thank you for joy, no matter what happens.
We pass the peace because we want to live in peace.
We ask for the strength of Patience to be able find the right time to do the right things.
God, give us gentleness because we often need your comfort and we need to know how to comfort others.
God, in the freedom of life let us make goodness the winner over evil.
Holy Spirit, grant us humility which can be natural as we worship the greatness of God and realize how small we are in this great universe.
And finally, God, give us the fruit of self-control. Let us learn to do and enjoy everything at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way.
God, thank you for Jesus the Vine and thank you for the fruits of the Spirit. Amen.