READ: Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia is an important one in the Bible. As he draws his letter to a close he writes words of encouragement to his friends. He reminds them of an old commandment which is in the Jewish scriptures in Leviticus (19:18), “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus had thought it such an important rule that when he was asked “Of all the commandments, of all the ten best ways to live, which is the most important?” Jesus responded, “Love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And then he added, “The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these. (Mark 12:28-34)
Paul agrees with Jesus. And he builds on that commandment to love others as we love ourselves by describing what living according to the ways of God’s Spirit looks like. He imagines that a life freely lived in God’s Spirit is one filled with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” He calls these “fruits of the Spirit,” outward expressions of how the Spirit leads us to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
(Galatians 5:1, 13-25)
WONDER: I wonder how the people in the church of Galatia feel when they read Paul’s words to love their neighbors as themselves?
I wonder how it feels when people love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength?
I wonder if it’s hard to love some people?
I wonder what your favorite gift of the Spirit is: kindness? joy? love? patience?
I wonder how the Spirit helps us?
SAY: In this part of Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, we see how the teachings of Jesus were passed on to others. Paul shares the most important commandment from God for us--loving our neighbors as ourselves.
PRAY: Let’s pray. Dear God, thank you for people who help us learn more about you and how you want us to live. Thank you for the Spirit who gives us the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Amen.
Weekly Faith Conversations
Use these guides as conversation starters with your family. A short retelling of the scripture passage is offered, or you may want to look the story up in your own bible or in a children's bible. The wondering questions are written to open up faith exploration with children and adults.