Reflection by Som Chanmony from TEAR's partner, Peace Bridges Cambodia. Art by Chris de Hoog.
In Christ, we obtain the first fruits of the Holy Spirit. Some of these fruits are described in the Bible as being love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. As we live with the hope of a perfect future, we can cultivate these character traits in step with the Holy Spirit's work in our lives.
I have expressed this theme by showing various fruit trees and fields of harvest. The trees are given sustenance by the river that flows through the painting, the love of Christ. The figures are gathering together, harvesting fruit and crops.
First Fruits Romans 8:23
By Som Chanmony
As people adopted into the family of God through Christ, we enjoy the firstfruits of the Spirit: the first taste of the harvest to come; a rich experience of God’s presence, power and gifts. Galatians 5 tells us what an expression of these firstfruits looks like in the life of a follower of Jesus: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
In Cambodia, violence has been normalised in everyday life. Our history has resulted in psychological trauma, and people push their anger down, and struggle to understand it. It erupts in ugly violence. Our communities desperately need those fruits of the Spirit, especially peace. Our goal is to help people here to cultivate that fruit by building peace with themselves and the other people around them. It’s a long-term process: trying out new habits, reflecting, learning, adjusting. As individuals build a personal foundation and vision for peace, then those personal visions start to connect and spread, and then families and communities become interconnected with peace. We’re seeing the Kingdom of God breaking in to communities – breaking generational cycles of violence and poverty – through this work of peace.
Jesus, thank you that you show us the way to peace and unity.
Thank you for your Spirit at work, transforming people from the inside out, to be bearers of your peace in a world of division.
We pray for Cambodia’s leaders – in communities, the church and the government – that you would pour out wisdom, sensitivity to hear and respond to the needs of people, and that this nation would be led into peace and prosperity.
May your Kingdom come.
Som Chanmony is the Executive Director of Peace Bridges Organisation in Cambodia, seeking to transform communities through peacebuilding.
Chris de Hoog is an artist and graphic designer living and working in Geelong, Victoria. He is married to Amie and they have four children.