lent 3 — is time running out?

The Fig Tree. Vysekal

At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

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.’”

• Luke 13:1-9

is time running out?

this world’s full of danger, that’s for sure
blood even flows through temples in these days
as self-appointed judges take up arms against the helpless
and have no fear of sacrilege nor wrath against their ways

imagining the “good” should be exempt
that “sinners” are the ones who suffer so
we see no need to change or alter any course we’re fixed on
it’s someone else’s problem, don’t you know…

time there is, but is it running out?
how long before the fruitless tree must go?
one more season? one more chance to feed and tend the garden?
kind caretaker, in patience, make it so.

9 thoughts on “lent 3 — is time running out?

  1. My clock; ticking faster and faster. Now older than my grandfathers were when their end came.


  2. –> “how long before the fruitless tree must go?”

    As a fairly fruitless tree myself, my only hope lies in the caretaker’s mercy and aid.

    –> “kind caretaker, in patience, make it so.”

    And there it is.


  3. I’m going to go and water the plants. The Christmas cactuses are blooming and the amaryllises are coming up nicely.

    Crocuses peeking up outside.


  4. ” . . . . one more season? one more chance to feed and tend the garden?
    kind caretaker, in patience, make it so.” ”

    reminds me of a story written by Rachel Remen, M.D. about how her Jewish grandfather taught her a lesson:

    ” . . . many of my grandfather’s gifts are with me still. Once he brought me a little paper cup. I looked inside it expecting something special. It was full of dirt. I was not allowed to play with dirt. Disappointed, I told him this. He smiled at me fondly. Turning, he picked up the little teapot from my dolls’ tea set and took me to the kitchen where he filled it with water. Back in the nursery, he put the little cup on the windowsill and handed me the teapot. “If you promise to put some water in the cup every day, something may happen,” he told me.

    At the time, I was four years old and my nursery was on the sixth floor of an apartment building in Manhattan. This whole thing made no sense to me at all. I looked at him dubiously. He nodded with encouragement. “Every day, Neshume-le,” he told me. And so I promised. At first, curious to see what would happen, I did not mind doing this. But as the days went by and nothing changed, it got harder and harder to remember to put water in the cup. After a week, I asked my grandfather if it was time to stop yet. Shaking his head no, he said, “Every day, Neshume-le.” The second week was even harder, and I became resentful of my promise to put water in the cup. When my grandfather came again, I tried to give it back to him but he refused to take it, saying simply, “Every day, Neshume-le.” By the third week, I began to forget to put water in the cup. Often I would remember only after I had been put to bed and would have to get out of bed and water it in the dark. But I did not miss a single day. And one morning, there were two little green leaves that had not been there the night before.

    I was completely astonished. Day by day they got bigger. I could not wait to tell my grandfather, certain that he would be as surprised as I was. But of course he was not. Carefully he explained to me that life is everywhere, hidden in the most ordinary and unlikely places. I was delighted
    . “And all it needs is water, Grandpa?” I asked him.
    Gently he touched me on the top of my head.
    “No, Neshume-le,” he said. “All it needs is your faithfulness.” (from ‘My Grandfather’s Blessings’)


  5. “Eternity is in Love with the Productions of Time.” — William Blake

    When we pray, “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”, it seems as if we are praying for “time to run out.” But the timing of the Kingdom’s coming is of its essence, and in keeping with God’s will; and the God of grace is a gardener who values time for the good fruit it produces.


  6. “time there is, but is it running out?
    how long before the fruitless tree must go?
    one more season? one more chance to feed and tend the garden?
    kind caretaker, in patience, make it so.”

    This reminds me very much of Tolkien’s novella *Leaf by Niggle.* For those of you who haven’t read it (and I strongly recommend it), here is how it begins:

    “There was once a little man called Niggle, who had a long journey to make. He did not want to go, indeed the whole idea was distasteful to him; but he could not get out of it. He knew he would have to start some time, but he did not hurry with his preparations.”


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