The Fig Tree








Prompted by today's lectionary reading from Luke 13:1-9, and with thanks to Mark Sweeney of EBM.




A landowner had a fig-tree, planted in his vineyard,
and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any.
So he said to the gardener who took care of the vineyard,
'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree
and haven't found any.
Cut it down!
Why should it use up the soil?'
But the gardener said
'Sir, leave it alone for one more year,
and I'll dig round it and fertilise it.
If it bears fruit next year, fine!
If not, then cut it down.'
The leaders of the Jews, the priests and the pharisees,
kept an eye on Jesus to see what fruit his teaching would produce,
but they saw nothing good and so they said to themselves,
'For three years now we’ve been watching this country rabbi
but haven't found anything good in him.                                           
We need to cut him down!
Before he poisons the nation.'

The champions of God’s people, the zealots and their like,
kept an eye out for the coming of the Messiah,
but they saw no-one suitable and so they said to themselves,
'For many long years now we’ve been watching and waiting
but haven't seen any change for the better                                         
We need to cut ourselves free!
Drive the Romans from our soil.'

The young firebrands of the church, in every generation,
kept looking for signs of growth and fruitfulness,
but they were sadly disappointed and so they said to themselves,
'For many years now we’ve been patiently waiting
but haven't seen any change for the better                                         
We need to give up on those tired old structures
And start again in fresh fields.'

The upright members of the church, in every generation,
keep looking for signs of repentance in those around them,
but they are often disappointed and so they said to themselves,
'For many years now we’ve bent over backwards
but haven't seen any change in their behaviour or beliefs.                  
We should give up on them  
Brush the dust off our feet.'

But the gardener said
'Sir, leave it alone for one more year,
and I'll dig round it and fertilise it.
If it bears fruit next year, fine!
If not, then cut it down.'


One more year…

Selah

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