If the spirit of the Lord lives with you, certain things result. Paul called these "Fruits of the Spirit". Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Kindness and Self-Control. These nine things are what the Holy Spirit produces in the Christian. In what ways are these nine fruits growing in you?
Likewise, if a group of people gather under the auspices of the Holy Spirit, then this group can expect to produce these same nine results. In what ways do you find Orchards producing fruit of this nature?
On the other hand, God is a lover of truth. So in examining our spiritual lives, we have to be real about our fruitfulness. I cannot claim to be very patient right now, and God knows it. I cannot claim kindness and continuously snap at people close to me. When these barren times happen, I can be gentle myself. I can be truthful with myself. I can ask God, who is very gracious, to help me with my unfruitfulness.
Finally, I want to connect this idea of fruitfulness to one of Jesus' parables. A man had a barren fig tree and wanted the gardener to cut it down. The gardener, perhaps more knowledgeable to fig trees, appealed to the man. "Allow me to tend to, spread manure around it and see if it can yet grow." When I feel barren, I go back to this matter of manure. One way to kick start our fruitfulness is to get reacquainted with those around us struggling. It seems counter-intuitive, but struggling people can be a great comfort to other struggling people.
As we get into fall and reopening becomes closer reality, we may need to kick-start our fruitfulness? Let us be brave to responsibly return to loving our neighbors through service to the needy around us.
Grace and peace,