The fruits of the Spirit.
2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
It’s the same mantle that Eiljah used to cover his face when going to encounter the presence of God at Horeb that he uses now to cross the Jordan on dry ground.
It is only the mantle and memories of Elijah that remain when Elisha stoops to pick it up from the ground after Elijah’s dramatic departure. And since he’s seen his mentor, his father figure, depart so suddenly that means his request will be fulfilled, won’t it? His request for a double portion of Elijah’s Spirit.
The mantle becomes the first test of this inheritance. Perhaps with caution and apprehension, Elisha stands on the banks of the Jordan, mantle in hand and questions rather than commands God – ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ Does he wonder: will he be my God too? And in faith he reaches down with the mantle to touch the water, and in a moment his question is answered – it’s a yes!
This is a passage that speaks of much of legacy, transition and the transfer of authority. We do well to remember the legacy and footsteps we stand in and follow as we seek to fulfil the will of God for our time and in this place.
This is our turn to step up and speak out for justice, willed on by those who have gone before and as an example to those who will follow.
It is a good thing to take time to meditate on the fruit of the Spirit that freedom enables, listed in Galatians 5:
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
These fruits are so necessary and desperately needed in our age, when the opposite seems to be permissible and prevalent in much of public and political discourse.
Paul emphasises that we are free to do and be all these things. He encourages us to use our freedom for good rather than for ill - that is, to use our freedom of speech to encourage and build up, rather than antagonise and tear down. To use our freedom of movement to welcome and provide hospitality, rather than put up barriers and exclude.
And if we find this list a challenge rather than an encouragement, we are reminded that it is not in and of our own will and strength but rather to ‘live by the Spirit’ and being ‘guided by the Spirit’ that we do so.
To grow these fruits in our lives takes time in the quiet place with and before God. Dwelling in the Spirit who beckons us to the freedom to love well.
Spirit of the living God,
dwell in us we pray,
tilling the soil of our souls,
planting the seeds of your fruit,
nurturing the freedom that flourishes,
cultivating the fruitful community
of your people at work in the world.
Pray for and give thanks for the work of cooperatives, helping farmers across the world, on International Day of Cooperatives (6 July).
Give thanks for our partners working in Burundi to support small-scale farmers, producing their coffee, sunflower, maize and honey.
Pray that Agri-Hub Burundi will continue to promote entrepreneurship and agribusiness, helping communities to lift themselves out of poverty.
Published on 19 June 2019