Happening Now Blog

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Wednesday Message

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.'"

These words are part of Sunday's gospel reading from Luke; the intended Lenten focus is on repentance. Luke keeps reminding us of the illusion of having plenty of time by reminding people of faith that, while we do not know when God's rule will break into our lives, our job is to be ready.

At a council meeting years ago in a small rural parish we were discussing (for maybe the 100th time) the removal of the dying old tree in front of the building. Each year it held less evidence of live and more obviously became a threat to the church building fifteen feet away. That night the vote was about to happen to remove the tree when Vern's voice broke into the president's call: "Dig it and dung it."

What? The question swirled around the men at table (yes, just men; that congregation was unwilling to consider yet that women could serve on council!) Vern's voice broke out again, "dig it and dung it. That's what the bible says." And with a few words from Luke's gospel the tree's life was spared.

Vern spent much time that summer and fall loosening and fertilizing the ground around that ancient tree. Spring came and the tree was dead. Council gathered with tractors and trucks, axes and chain saws and within a few hours the tree was gone.

That congregation is now gone as well. Their time of service and ministry to that small community came to an end and along with the old tree passed into history.

We began the season of Lent two weeks ago with the mark of ashes and the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return." Luke's question for us is this: what do you do with the gift of life in between?

Along the way,

Pastor Dan

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THIS WEEK

Wednesday  5:30 pm Lenten Soup/Bread Supper potluck
                     6:30 pm Holden Evening Prayer Service

Friday          5:00 pm Women's Bible Study

Sunday        8:30 & 11:00 a Worship
                    9:45 a Adult Education
                    1:30 p OEC