The Lord has done great things for us and we rejoiced.  Psalm 126:3.

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Ephesians1:3

The above scripture verses, written in biblical times, express great joy because of what God has done for his people.  Joy——a fruit of the spirit, a gift from the Lord.

Henri J.M. Nouwen, a great spiritual writer, writes that the fruits of the spirit come forth from the love of God, and that they are always gifts. We do nothing to produce them and cannot tell others how to acquire them.  Our response to them must always be gratitude.

Nouwen goes on to say that when we are aware of a sense of peace, cooperation, or mutual support in a group or community or in a family, it is a gift from God.  No one created it.  

I have experienced this awareness in church groups, although until lately, I could not have verbalized it.  Now, I realize that we truly are a gifted people. Not to say that we don’t ever disagree with each other, after all we are blessed with uniqueness and individuality.  But we experience a unity that binds us together, an intimate connection that begins with the love of God and what he has done for us, what he is doing now and in what the future holds.   

As the song goes, “we are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord”.  Thanks be to God.  

Joan Perlich  

Thoughts from Henri Nouwen come from The Lord is Near.  Advent Meditations from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.