June 9, 2021
INVOCATION and READING
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)
Galatians 5: 22-25 The Fruit of the Spirit
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 9: 6-11 Generosity Encouraged
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
For the word of the Lord, we give thanks.
Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed with life that we just need to stop spinning our wheels, take a pause, and reboot. Likewise, I’m learning that this practice can be helpful in our spiritual lives because, as our hearts become over-burdened or distracted by an issue, we begin to stray from the fruit of the Holy Spirit – those blessings we receive for striving to live God’s will through the Sprit’s power and guidance.
Having two of Pastor Shannon’s themes for these surrounding Sundays (gratitude and blessings) in my mind, I was led to a great hymn that allowed me an opportunity to pause – give thanks – and begin again! Redirecting my focus on giving thanks for God’s creation put me back on course! Additionally, thinking of others always has a way of restoring a worldly balance as well as the awesome work of the Holy Spirit.
The hymn “For the Fruits of This Creation” (UMH #97) was written in 1970 by Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000). He was a widely recognized English hymn writer who was most prolific after his retirement as a long-serving Methodist Minister. The tune EAST ACKLAM was written in 1957 by Francis Jackson (b.1917). He is an accomplished composer of church music as well as having had a distinguished career as organist and choirmaster at York Minster in York, England. This grand hymn tune had not gained much recognition until Fred Pratt Green was asked to write the hymn specifically for this music. I pray you will find respite in this hymn of thanksgiving, and blessings that are shared with others.
O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries
Our devotional today is dedicated to Pastor Shannon, with thanksgiving for her spark of life in Jesus Christ, the generous sharing of her spiritual gifts, and for her undying compassion for, and acceptance of all God’s creatures.