Third Sunday in Lent
Tending the Garden
Plant a fig tree, they say! Whoever they are, they haven’t quite told the whole story. We can plant seeds and watch them grow, but it is up to God to water and provide sun for the flowers to bloom. Does that mean that we are off the hook and don’t need to do any follow-up on the seeds we plant? I don’t think so. As we are able, we tend the plant, fertilize the soil, and make sure there is enough water getting to the plant to help it flourish.
Very often, if you are like me, you are keen to get started on the new vision. We have energy for all of the new things that need to be put into place, but we easily run out of steam and get frustrated when the things we hoped for just don’t seem to be happening. I wonder if the story Jesus tells could serve as a reminder that the work and joy of the kin(g)dom of God is in the consistent practice of tending, as well as planting.
Is there any place in the ministry of your congregation where tending may be needed? Is this a season when you need to be tended to? Do you have some gifts that could be committed to the tending? Some practices of faith take a long time to come to the surface but are necessary for our development and growth.
The person who asks for one more year and commits to caring for the fig tree may be more important to the fig tree’s future than the one who planted it in the first place. In the seasons of life when tending is needed, it may feel as if nothing is happening, until one day . . . something blooms!
The season of Lent can be like that. Focus on your inner thoughts and heart, and suddenly your outward witness changes. May your tending lead to new blooms!
Rebecca Craver, Director of Congregational Development
Moravian Church, Southern Province