Grace and Peace Bethany Lutheran,
We always say that the Holy Spirit is hard to see. It's hard to identify. We use images like the dove, or tongues of fire to represent the Spirit in our art, but in our day-to-day lives, the Spirit often seems invisible or even worse, not there at all!
But this week we'll hear a little bit more about where we can see the Holy Spirit at work, and it's actually in the most common and often overlooked places. Saint Paul tells us that we see signs of the Spirit - what he calls the Fruit of the Spirit - in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Paul also contrasts that with what he calls "works of the flesh," which are things like anger, jealousy and strife. Unfortunately sometimes these things are more visible in our world. The tragic events in Orlando was the very representation of those evils in full force.
And yet, in the wake of that tragedy, we've seen the fruits of the Spirit pouring out on the victims and their families, as they are wrapped in love, prayer and support.
Even in tragedy (some would say especially in tragedy), the Spirit was in full force, working to combat the evils of homophobia, anger, hatred and violence. A local prayer vigil this past weekend was held for the victims, and included members of the Islamic community praying side by side with people of the Christian and Jewish communities. It was a beautiful outpouring of the Spirit.
That is where we see the Holy Spirit most keenly. That is where God shows up. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are expressions of the Spirit of God that cannot be cowed by violence, anger, bigotry or even death.
So may the fruit of the Spirit be with you and in you this week as you go on your ways.