Dear Church Family and Community,
The primary definition of gentleness reads like this: the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered. I found this striking for several reasons. One, when I first think of gentleness, I think of being tender and soft. Two, when I think of gentleness, I think of people whom I admire, whose kindness isn’t loud but felt, needed, and always available. And three, I think of people who can bring peace to just about any situation, calm to just about any storm, and steadiness that can restore and refresh your spirit.
When I think about gentleness, I’m reminded about grandparents and how they love grandchildren. One of the most consistent blessings in my life over the last six years, has been simply watching how our daughters are loved by their grandparents. Our girls are blessed to know that their grandparents will listen, read, play, walk, and take them on both new and familiar adventures. Their grandparents consistently help to teach them that they are loved. And this special love our children consistently receive reminds me that gentleness that looks like our Christ is good fruit.
This week, we will continue our Growing Season sermon series on the fruit of the Spirit. In John 15, Jesus teaches that He is the Vine, and His Father is the Gardener. We are the branches who are blessed to bear fruit when we remain in Christ our Vine. Remaining in Christ is following Jesus’ commands and living by the Spirit. Living by the Spirit produces fruit. The fruit of life by the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
This week during our service, we will focus on gentleness. My hope is for us all to answer, what does gentleness look like in our lives? How can it bring fruit? To help us, we will revisit and sit with a story that we studied just this past January. Now this story is commonly referred to as the woman caught in adultery, but further study has left me siding with the scholar who prefers to call it…the men caught in hypocrisy. This story is found in John 7:53-8:11. I would like to invite you to take time this week, to read and pray through this passage.
When we looked at this passage a few months back, our focus was on the grace of God seen clearly through Jesus. I asked for us to read through, ask, and answer, what is God’s grace? How have you been graced by God? How have you been graced by others? How is God calling you to grace your world? This time through, we remember the grace…but we now look for gentleness. In this passage, how do you see the gentleness of Jesus? In your life, how have you been graced with God’s gentle love? How has the gentle love of others blessed you? How is God calling you to share gentle love with your world?
We live in a world where gentleness is seen as weakness. We lead lives that teach us to put up barriers for protection, that calls us to be hard while keeping others “at bay.” We also too easily forget that what we speak, text, post, or share is often not with the gentle love that looks like our Christ. Scripture reminds us that the soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit; a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Gentleness as modeled by Christ is a way that we can bear fruit that brings life in our world, in our lives, and in our relationships.
Sisters and brothers, praise God for Jesus Christ. Praise God for the Holy Spirit that lives within, knitting us together as one and transforming us into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. And praise God for each other – God has gifted us together for this time and for this journey. May we never forget to grace one another with the gentle love of God.
God bless you all.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (Proverbs 15:1-4)
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