Church Parade

Sunday, December 20, 2009
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Galatians 5:25 – Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (NIV)

Years ago, when I was in the Scouts, our troop used to go to church once per month. Along with the other uniformed youth organizations like the Cub Scouts, Brownies, Guides, and what was known as the Boys' Brigade, we used to parade around a massive square and march to the local Methodist Church. It was an impressive sight, with our different-coloured uniforms and the various tartans on our kilts. We stepped around the shopping mall square and felt very important. Cars and coaches, buses and taxis all stopped as we marched to the beat of a big bass drum.

Keeping in step was the most difficult part. With different groups of different ages and sexes, it was hard to march at the same pace. We even got distracted by the bystanders on the sidewalk, especially if amongst them were some of our school peers, who whistled, heckled, and jeered at the marchers. And if the clouds were teeming with rain, with a strong north-westerly wind, we got soaked through to the skin before we ever got to church.

Paul talks about Christians keeping in step with God's Holy Spirit. We march through our life's journeys from beginning to end, usually at our own pace. In the best of times and the worst of times, we still journey on, until we come to a dead stop. What Paul is bringing to our attention is that there is a better way to get through life — a life that is lived in step with the Holy Spirit — a life designed so that the fruits of the Spirit can be ours for the taking. And who among us does not want those fruits? Aren't love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control the better things in life? Aren't those qualities of the Holy Spirit the best that we can ever experience and accomplish?

So, today, as we scurry throughout this busiest of all seasons in the year, let's try to keep in step with the Spirit. Otherwise, we'll just wear ourselves out and get nowhere fast.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, in our rush to keep up with listing and giving, buying and wrapping, we've set ourselves stressful deadlines and unhealthy choices. Help us to keep in step with the Spirit, so that we may be led to the simple, sacred peace of the stable in Bethlehem, and kneel at Your feet. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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