Holiness in our Midst: Session 115

Holiness in our Midst


Story Circle Prompt: These are unprecedented times marked by pandemic and war. Which of the qualities named as fruit(s) of the spirit would you like to work on cultivating at this point in history? 

As my senses are assaulted daily with images of deadly conflict in Ukraine, examples of political incivility, lingering reminders of COVID-19 and reports of climate disasters, I have found an antidote to war. I am being drawn to studying, one at a time, the fruit (or “fruits,” as I like to call them) of the spirit listed in Galatians 5. The Apostle Paul exhorts the people to be free indeed, liberated from the yoke of slavery. After listing the temptations of the flesh, he urges them to walk by the spirit, writing: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (vs. 22, 23).  (NIV) 

The first quality I choose to work on is peace, that is, moving toward embodying it in my daily rounds. 

The peace I am seeking is not one that propels me outward in public activism as a response, though it may in time. I am being called inward to establish an “Island of Peace” in my soul. My guide is Howard Thurman (1899-1981), a black spiritualist and mystic. In his book Mediations of the Heart (Boston: Beacon Press, 1953) he wrote: “Each one has to deal with the evil aspects of life, with injustices inflicted upon him and injustices which he wittingly or unwittingly, inflicts upon others. We are all of us deeply involved in the throes of our own weaknesses and strengths, expressed often in the profoundest conflicts within our own souls. The only hope for surcease, the only possibility of stability for the person, is to establish an Island of Peace within one’s own soul (p. 17).” Quiet contemplation of my personal transgressions in the company of my Creator seems a worthy first step in my counter offensive to these times. The first question I will dare to ask: How am I contributing to the discord in the world? 

What fruit of the Spirit speaks to you in this hour? What can you do to cultivate this quality?


  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, answer the following: What fruit of the Spirit speaks to me in this hour? What can I do to cultivate this quality? What changes might I have to make in my life to exhibit it?


       1.   Read aloud Session CXV.

       2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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