November 5, 2018
And he spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and came seeking fruit on it, and did not find any. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find nothing; cut it down. Why does it even waste the soil?’ But in reply he says to him, ‘Leave it this year too, until I can dig around it and spread manure, And see if indeed it produce fruit in future; but if not, you will cut it down.’”
(Luke 13:6-9 The New Testament, A Translation, David Bentley Hart)
Life Imitates Art
A few years ago we had a row of hydrangeas planted beside our driveway. The foliage was lush the first year, but no blooms. The following years the blooms were sporadic and hidden beneath the foliage – so not much beauty. The garden centre experts suggested shocking the roots, fertilizing, pruning at different times of the year – all of which I tried for the last few years to no avail.
Earlier this fall I dug them up and discarded them replacing them with new plants which have bloomed nicely so far, but we will see what the next years bring. As I meditated on Jesus’ story my own story was fresh in my memory. He had done some gardening for Mary apparently.
Jesus challenged his audience about their ideas that when bad things happened to people, it was because of their sin – some sort of judgement of God on them. He essentially told them they were nuts and then told his story. He invited them to see the God of judgement as also the God of infinite patience, who would still dig around their lives, fertilize them, in the hope that they would have more fruitful thoughts.
A Prayer for Today
Loving God, thank you for the many ways you unsettle my predisposition to judgement. Grant me compassion for those who have suffered natural disasters, accidents or political injustice. Preserve me from assigning blame or even seeing you as having a hand in it. I need some of your Divine gardening to make my heart and mind produce something fruitful …. For Jesus sake