Feasting on Fruit: Love

May 18th, 2014
Love: Mountain Pose

Breathe In

The Hebrew word for Spirit, pronounced“ruach,” can also be translated as “breath or wind.” What might our habit of shallow breathing and even holding our breath say about our relationship with the Holy Spirit?! Instead of shallow breathing, what if we breathed deeply this Breath of Life on a regular basis? Let's start today by breathing in love.

  • You might begin by exhaling love's opposite which is hate, fear or indifference. You can envision letting go of what is old and stale so to create space for what is new and fresh. Imagine love filling and spreading throughout your body with each inhale and letting go of any hate, fear or indifference with each exhale. Spend at least five minutes breathing deeply.
  • Soon, you'll not only be able to picture yourself breathing in love but you'll be so full of love, you'll begin overflowing and breathing out love into the world. Practice consciously breathing love in and out for as long as desired.

What we take into our bodies and minds, we become. To embody something is to give a visible, tangible form to it. What physical posture might the body take to represent each fruit of the Spirit? Each day a different posture is offered with a photo and instruction for that day's body prayer. We are invited to prayerfully rest in the posture allowing our body to experience a deeper welcome and awareness of this particular fruit of the Spirit.

The Fruit of the Spirit series of prayer postures was designed to move from one to the next, or flow, for a prayer of heart and body. After being introduced to and becoming more comfortable with each posture, you might connect them, following your breath. Inhale and exhale several times with each one as you flow through the Scripture passage with prayerful discipline.

Look at today's body prayer, notice how the feet remain grounded and yet the heart and hands remain open to receive God's love. Read the instructions and allow your body to be open to love.

  • You might combine the posture of love with the breathing described above. God delights in your prayer of love filling and being embodied by your own body.
  • Some may like to invite their minds/wills to join the body posture. Through the Holy Spirit, we are freely offered the wisdom of God, the mind of Christ
    (1 Corinthians 2). Whether combined with the posture or said lying in bed, driving in your car, standing in a line somewhere, joining others at church, you can prayerfully say,

I have the mind of Christ.
My mind is full of love.
I choose love today in my
thoughts, words, decisions, and actions.

Breathe Out

How might you offer your spiritual fruit-filled body, mind and soul to the world? How can you breathe out love everywhere you go?

Begin with prayerful openness, trusting the promise that the Spirit is interceding within you beyond words as Paul reminds us in Romans 8. Twelfth century saint, Hidegard of Bingen once described herself as “a feather on the breath of God.” You, too, might allow yourself to be this feather, carried to where the world needs you.

Become aware of all that God loves and all that is awaiting redemption. A few ideas:

  • As you sit in church or consider the people you worship with, pray and envision the fruit of the Spirit, in today's case love, being breathed over or perhaps growing and ripening in your congregation. Imagine love growing within each person, breathed among the people gathered there.
  • You might figuratively or literally walk through your own neighborhood or larger community. Perhaps look at a community map and divide it into nine areas to pray over. You may even take your own body of love and walk through each area and with each breath, blessing it with the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Looking at a world map, you might consider praying for these nine areas—the seven continents (Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America), eight being all bodies of water and nine, all air/space. Whether you pray for a particular area and its inhabitants each day or over all areas every day, allow yourself to be led by the Spirit whether with words, picturing the fruit of the Spirit (today's being love) in a certain place, or silently offering that area to God.

Whether Old Testament or New, we read stories of God choosing individuals and communities to carry the good news of who God is and to widen the welcome home to the family of God. The fact that you are reading this right now indicates that you are invited to join in widening the welcome! Who are you to welcome? Jesus reminds us that it is when we tend to the hungry, thirsty, and stranger that we welcome and tend to Him (Matthew 25). There are many who are hungering, thirsting and feeling like strangers (including ourselves!).

In the beginning of his song, The Love of God, Rich Mullins sings,
There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And he keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone

As we become hospitable to the fire of the Spirit we begin to offer a wider mercy. We notice and tend to the parts of ourselves that need to be welcomed and fed. As we become hospitable to God's Spirit, we become more aware of the hunger and loneliness of those around us as well. Our invitation is to be people who bring the fellowship and fruit of the Holy Spirit into the world. Here are some ways to tend the fire of love:

  • You might allow the Spirit's expansion of welcome in the New Testament stories of Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter's vision of the sheet coming down and conversation with Cornelius (Acts 10) and Paul's blinding on the road to Damascus (Acts 22) to speak to you over the next 9 days. As you read one or more stories, enter into them with all of your senses, imagining yourself in the scene. Pay particular attention today to how the fruit of love is present.
  • Take some time over the next nine days to look over your own life and how the Spirit may be speaking (images in visions and dreams, conversations, Scriptures that have grabbed your attention, meaningful acts of service, etc.). What parts of your own self are you being invited to extend greater hospitality toward? What part of you needs to receive your warmth and welcome (and be reminded of God's love and welcome)?
  • Who is the Spirit bringing to mind that is in need of greater hospitality in your world—your workplace, church, neighborhood, family, etc.? Is there a particular person or group of people coming to your awareness that is hungering for love today? How might the Holy Spirit be inviting you to widen the welcome by bringing and offering love to the world? Ask the Spirit to show you what simple step you can take now in offering the fruit of love.

This full series will be posted here

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