Third Sunday in Lent February 28, 2016
Jesus is a hands-on, down-to-earth kind of guy! He lays his hands on folks to heal and bless, he doesn’t shy away from truth-telling, and he loves to use gardening metaphors.
The common element in this two-part passage is turning. The word “to repent” means “to turn, to turn again, to return.” Jesus first confronts the common notion (in his day and ours) that bad things happen only to bad people. No, he tells his followers; those other people’s experience of tragedy did not occur because of their great sinfulness. “Not at all. [But] unless you turn to God, you too will die” (Luke 13:5 The Message).
Turning over the soil, Jesus tells us, is what the gardener pro-poses as a solution to the owner of the fig tree that is failing to produce. “[Let me] 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 13:9).
Turning to God, like good gardening, is a daily task, but one to which we are especially invited during Lent. Imagine yourself as a garden. How are you growing, and what are you producing? Are there weeds among your rows that need pulling out? Where do you need to fertilize your life with the good news of Jesus’ love? What is green and growing in you during this season of your life?
Vicki Jens-Page, pastor, Morongo Moravian Church, Banning, California