February 23, 2016,

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

This Sunday’s Gospel reading includes Luke 13:6-9. It is Luke’s account of Jesus and the parable of the fig tree. It is about a call to repentance but goes further. The fig tree is in full leaf but isn’t producing fruit. Should it be destroyed or permitted to have more time? This is the discussion between the owner and the gardener. In this story God the Father is the owner of the tree, and Jesus is the gardener.

Luke wants us to consider our own lives as that of the fig tree. Are we bearing fruit or just taking up space and looking attractive with pretty leaves? If we don’t bear fruit do we have the right to live? Should we be cut down? According to the parable Jesus has provided us with time to change, but it is short—only a year.

I find this parable insufficient. There is more. God created us in love. He loves us for who we are. God may appreciate what we do, but as a parent loves his or her children, we don’t need to justify our existence with deeds. I agree with the parable in that we are happier when our lives have purpose, but happy or unhappy, productive or not, God is and will always embrace us with his love. When we can respond in kind, we in unique and sometimes strange ways are bearing fruit. You could say we have been tended to by Jesus the gardener, and life is good for us—as God intends. With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,