Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Figs and Manure

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9

The fig tree that we had in our yard as children is long gone. A terrible wind storm, a nor'easter took it away from us. I still remember it's gnarly branches, her wide supple, rough leaves and the way the tree accommodated us as a hiding place. It took a comers in and sheltered us and then provided rich succulent fruit along with it. We feasted at summers end on figs until our bellies would swell. The grainy rich fruit would be dried for the winter and made in to preserves. One tree, our tree, would provide sweet treats throughout the winter, stinging our tongues with the warm luxury of summer days.

Jesus tells his disciples parables, often when they are feeling afraid, often when they are clueless and depressed. He talks about God as the one who comes and fertilizes the tree, the tree which has been so barren and useless for so long. Jesus tells the stories so they will realize what kind of gardener this God is, a careful, tender gardener who does not give up on even the most stubborn gnarly trees nor the meanest weeds in the garden.

Today I want to trust God to help us produce fruit where there has been none for so long. I ask God to give me the strength to invite the gardener one more time and to be open to the digging and the manure that has to be a part of new growth and abundance. I pray we can all open our hearts to the Gardener, the God who loves us and will come to us to make us whole and productive.

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