Friday 07 June 2013

Bible Book:

“A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.” (v. 6)

Luke 13:6-9 Friday 7 June 2013


This story about the fig tree is placed in between a gory reportabout some Galileans (Luke13:1-5) and followed by the healing of the women bent double(Luke 13:10-17). Whilst it maybe a spontaneousresponse to understand these stories as being about judgement andrepentance, there is a quality within the story of the vinedresser(gardener) and the fig tree which speaks to me about tender loveand care.

Whilst I was teaching I was often working in a context of socialdeprivation where families struggled with their emotions and theircapacity to cope. Tempers often spilled out on to the streets andinto the classrooms resulting in the children being labelled as 'nogood' and 'hard work'. Few teachers would go to schools in theseareas, but those who did were often those who saw the child firstand their outward behaviours second. They offered tender andappropriate love and care. So, when in school, the childrenresponded more positively to the adults who did not cut them downin their tracks but frequently went beyond the working day to showthat there was more to life than anger and resentment.

The vinedresser encouraged the vineyard owner to give the figtree a second chance. The dresser knew what patience and nurturingcould do, unlike the owner who wanted a return for his investmentand quickly too! With gentle persistence and patience, thevinedresser believed he could restore the fig tree. He understoodthe needs and requirements that a young tree had; he was a goodgardener.

It is easy to hear the allusion to God as the gardener in thispassage … a heavenly gardener who knows the ground wherein theseeds of humanity have been sewn and who knows what each seedrequires to grow well and bear fruit.

To Ponder

  • There are times when it is good to be impatient; impatient forchange when people are hurting (such as the work of the IF campaign);impatient with systems that suffocate creativity. You will probablythink of others. But there are times in our lives when we arewrongly impatient. When have you seen impatience? Reflect on yourresponse to the situation or the feelings it invoked in you.
  • Sometimes the church community can feel stifling and unloving,particularly if there are people amongst it who are perceived asbeing different. How can a culture of patience and understanding,love and nurture be developed? Is there space for a garden orplants to grow that could demonstrate a caring culture?
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