Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Barbara, Holy Redeemer, April 27, 2020

Devotion for April 27, 2020

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a[1]

Oh, boy…..  I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling with some of the fruits of the Spirit Paul talks to the Galatians about.  I’m doing pretty well on a few, namely love, generosity, faithfulness.  Some fruits of the Spirit I’m on the fence, peace (when I’m not listening to the news), kindness (when I’m not listening to the news), gentleness (when I’m not listening to the news – I sense a theme here…..), but the others, not so much.  Joy, patience, and self-control are hard won from me right now.

It’s pretty easy to figure out why for those of us who are stuck at home.  Being cooped up day after day would make anyone restless, let alone a whole country, so patience is at a premium.  My daughter in Pacific Grove said that the beaches are packed there as people just want to get away from home.  Personally, self-control hits me hard with snacks, exercise, and not falling asleep at the computer!  But I must say that joy, which is a norm for me in my life, is the hardest for me to authentically embrace.  I see the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise, along with the other attached statistics, and it just makes me sad.  How do we find joy at a time like this?

Well, I found some joy today in this photo on Facebook. 

This is Braxton, who has challenged his graduating class to send in photos of themselves in cap and gown doing good things for the community.  Who cannot take joy in that kind of determined effort to do some good?  And if this young man can find a way to make meaning in his life – a life so affected and changed from what he thought was coming his senior year – surely I can hang in there and seek some authentic joy in my life.

Now, I do not discount the fact that many are struggling with life and death matters.  In fact all of us are who are going out to help others, and those of us who are staying home to help others, are dealing with life and death matters.  And yet, sad or disheartened, or discouraged, or just plain bored that we are, if we give God even half a chance, God can help us find some joy, maybe in a funny self-haircut, or a game of Zoom Pictionary, a call to a friend, or you fill in the blank.  Let us pray for each other and for each other to find joy.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Barbara

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