We are a strange herd.
Galatians 5: 22 – 25
In “Ice Age,” an animated film, three strangers are thrown together: Manfred, a woolly mammoth, Sid, a sloth, and Diego, a saber-tooth tiger. Certainly, these three make a very unusual group that tries to return a little baby back to his father.
Walking on an ice field, they discover that the ice is on top of a volcano and the hot lava is melting the ice. Diego, separated on an island of ice, hangs on the edge, but loses his grip and falls into a chasm. Manfred, the mammoth, jumps into the chasm to save Diego.
Diego, who is moved by Manfred’s compassion, courage and sacrifice, asks, “Why did you do that?!”
Quietly the mammoth responds, “That’s what you do when you are part of a herd. You look after each other!”
Now Sid, the sloth, speaks up to his unusual herd members, “I don’t know about you guys, but I think we are one strange herd.”
Have you ever taken time to look around our community: Families, workers, children, young people and retired folk, and realize that we come in different heights, weights, genders, eye, hair, skin color, voices, talents — the list could go on and on. We are a strange herd of people living in Clarke County.
Some people go to church and some people never go to church. Some people are happy and joyful almost all the time. Others are grumpy and hard to be around.
Some people go about their world and pay no attention to anything. Some people are faithful to the “fruit of the Spirit.”
The “fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control.” (Paul’s writings in Galatians 5:22 – 25)
Sometimes the “fruits of the Spirit” seem to get lost. In fact, they appear to have been stamped into the ground forever. But, you know what happens? Along comes some person alive with the “fruits of the Spirit” who lights a spark.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Living in Osceola for 26 years, I think I can support that we are a strange herd. Many times it might appear that we have little in common, but all at once something happens and the community finds the “fruit of the Spirit.”
In 1996, when our house burned, we saw the “fruit of the spirit” awaken upon us. We can come together as a strange herd and accomplish actions to meet a need in our community, whether in the churches or outside the churches.
We do know the “fruit of the Spirit.” The “fruit of the Spirit” is alive no matter how dim it may seem at some days.
Terry Tempest Williams wrote, “Can we listen with our whole beings not just our minds, and offer out attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without ever giving up trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living (he wrote Democratic) community. Whether we know it or not, like it or not, honor it or not, we are embedded in community. We were created in and for a complex ecology of relatedness and without it we will wither and die. Are we able to relax into our created condition and receive the gifts that we have been given?”
We may be a strange herd in this community, but we do have the “fruit of the Spirit living in actions of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
In your church you will find and discover many wonderful opportunities to nourish and practice the fruits of the Spirit.