(Click above for the complete reading)
(Click the time above for that service)
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 [the gardener] 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 13:7-9
In this gospel reading, people bring some terrible news to Jesus about a brutal attack that took the lives of some worshipers at the temple. Those bringing the news appear to assume that the people who died must have committed a terrible sin to suffer such a fate.
Jesus says, no! (choose the sermon link above to hear the whole story!)
And then Jesus tells a story about a fig tree that points our attention to grace rather than judgment.
Grace is relentless, the opposite of karma.
Grace dismantles our systems of self-justification.
Grace is not interested in our fear or our charity.
Grace is interested in our love.
And today, the grace of God comes looking for you. Grace is about who God says you are, in this world and the next.
Questions to Ponder or Discuss
1. How have you experienced grace in your own life?
2. Which do you find more difficult to extend, grace or judgment?
3. Where do you see yourself in this parable? Are you the vineyard owner, ready to cut down the tree, or the gardener, trying to help the tree produce fruit? Or maybe you identify with the fig tree, hoping for another chance?
Jesus told a story about a tree that deserved to be cut down but the gardener inspired the owner to give it more time. We all walk around with the power to judge and also the power to extend grace.
Be aware of these two powers this week and how you affect the world by choosing one or the other.
See you in church!