Five years before I moved to La Verne, California, I visited the place for the first time — without the slightest glimmer that I would live there for the better part of my life. The year was 1994, and I was touring with a quartet as a volunteer with Brethren Volunteer Service, and we were stopping through to attend the ordination of our friend, Zandra Wagoner, whose home church was the La Verne Church of the Brethren.
Sitting out on the courtyard before the service, this song came to me. I didn’t do anything with it at first, except for singing it to myself while driving, rhythmically pounding the steering wheel (it was really good for keeping me awake on my stints at the wheel on our quartet’s long drives on our tour). But, once I had moved to La Verne, and began to participate musically at the La Verne Church of the Brethren, I whipped it up into a usable form, working out the interludes — perhaps first for the folk group, and later for the Sanctuary Choir. The piece kept evolving, and eventually the descants that listed the nine “fruits of the Spirit” were added. The last thing to be completed, as usual, was the piano accompaniment, which I wrote out for my friends at the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren (Elgin, IL) for their Pentecost service in 2016.