Prayer: Watchful Father, you see all we do and notice what we don't. While we know it is only by grace we are saved, help us to actually do something for your Kingdom. Thank you for being patient with us. Amazing when the fruits of our labor make a difference. Amen
Reading: Luke 13: 1-9 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: A few years ago, our Wednesday night Lantern worship services were dramas based on parables and one evening it was the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. I will always remember Glen, who played the role of the fig tree, shaking down to his very roots. He really became the character of a laid back, lazy, unproductive tree holding two branches in his hands above his head until it was noticed his branches were totally bare, the accusation of wasting soil and the threat of being cut down. Then began the look of worry in his face and the nervous shaking of the branches. No, his arms weren't just getting tired. He was one scared tree and we all believed it. We also knew ourselves we could be that tree.
As Glen recalls his character development for the performance, “The fig tree was a bit of a slacker. He felt he had pulled the wool over the eyes of his master, and he was pretty proud of the fact. That turned out to be not the case as the lack of his initiative was discovered”
I can't remember exactly how the story was enacted but I know by the end his branches were no longer shaking. They may have even had leaves and fruit growing on them. The gardener asked the master for a year to give the tree a chance and then dug around and fertilized it. The tree bore fruit, well and good, and was not cut down.
While we have work to do for the kingdom, I don't think we need to be terrified trees as we trust the gardener, Jesus, will loosen up our feet and feed us to be productive. Let that be our prayer as we are grateful for God's patience. --Ruth Gates
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