There were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them--do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."
Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'" Luke 13:1-9
We went to the raptor center this week to watch the eagles that have been rescued these amazing and majestic birds of prey are brought here when they have suffered massive injuries. There are a few who will never leave the center but there are 19 now slated to be released. Folks were tenderly working with them to regain their abilities. More than healing their bodies, they give them the support and nurture to fly again. They have to be idle for a time to heal but then loving hands bring them back to health and freedom.
Jesus tells a parable about a disappointing fig tree, it's owner, and the gardener. I used to imagine that the parable was about God, the fig tree owner and Jesus, the gardener. Now I have come to realize that we are the owners and God in Christ is the gentle gardener. We are the ones who give up, who fall into such deep despair that we cannot bear to watch another failure. In the face of all our failure and our broken wings, God's love pleads with us. God invites us to turn over our worst, so that we can fly again.
Today, as we draw ever deeper into Lent, may we acknowledge our broken wings, our broken bodies, our broken lives. May we have the spark of faith that lets us offer all of our brokenness to God. And may we trust that God is a faithful and tender gardener, a talented and kind care giver, ready to mend us and set us free to do what we were made to do. May God set us free from the brokenness so that we may rise on wings of love.
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.