Bearing Fruit + Changing Your View of Things
You are glorious beautiful, the spitting image of your creator. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is the fabric from which you were made. It’s all within you, waiting to be revealed.
For the creation is eagerly awaiting the revelation of God's daughters Roman 8:19
(ammended verse, original here.)
From the trees, to the wind, to the stars and back, it’s all waiting in a very real way. Creation was God’s first divine revelation and we are his last, his eternal.
This time of Lent is a time of dedication to the Holy Spirit. To allow her to show us areas were we could be blossoming bigger, weeds that don’t need to be there and desires planted by God that have yet to grow.
This Gospel shares the parable of the barren fig tree.
And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
In this parable we see two figures, the owner of the vineyard and the vinedresser. Then there is this fig tree, a tree usually symbolising fertility and choosenness in the the Old Testament, that has not been producing fruit for three years.
If we put this parable in context, Jesus and the people he was speaking to would have been very familiar with Leviticus which is the third book of the Torah in which it says,
“When you come into the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall regard their fruit as forbidden; three years it shall be forbidden to you, it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all their fruit shall be set apart for rejoicing in the Lord. But in the fifth year you may eat of their fruit, that their yield may be increased for you; I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:23-25
For the owner to request fruit form the tree in it’s first three years, would have been to transgress from the Torah. We can maybe assume that the tree was in it’s sixth year, three as prescribed by the Torah and then another three of barrenness. The vinedresser requesting another year would put the tree in it’s seventh. As we know the number seven is the number of perfection and completeness in the Bible.
The Lord's love never ends; his mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great. I say to myself, "The Lord is mine, so I hope in him." The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who seek him.
This parable is challenging, because of the two mysterious figures we are presented with. The owner and the vinedresser. In ‘The parable of the workers’ and ‘The parable of the vineyard owner’ we place the vineyard owner as God. But maybe we could challenge ourselves to see it differently in this one.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. John 15:1
The vindresser says ‘ ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” The vinedressers protects the fig tree and takes responsibility to nurture it, putting manure around it. In the same way God tends to us, even when it means life’s manure of difficulty or messiness is needed, he’s invested in seeing us produce fruit, being who we were meant to be.
It’s tempting to think of God the Father as the punitive law giver and Jesus as the one who pleads for us and saves us from God himself. Crazy I know!
Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity; Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God. Fr Richard Rohr
To bear fruit is ultimately to love, to bring forth the glory of God. The idea of ‘love or else’ motivates our basic level of fear, which is not a bad place to start, sometimes essential, it’s just a dangerous place to stay.
Our journey to God and to be revealed as one with God will be shaped by our image of God. If God himself is not the divine and complete revelation of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, then where are we going?
it is the glory of my father that you would bear much fruit and be my disciples…remian in my love. John 15:1
In the beginning of the Gospel, the people are led away from thinking of God as someone who implements destructive events or divinely orchestrates disaster as a way of moral punishment. Jesus asks the people to use these events to consider their own mortality.
Do you suppose that these Galieleans were worse sinners than any others, that this should have happened to them? They were not I tell you. No; I tell you but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Luke 13:2-3
Repent comes from the Greek word ‘metanoia’ which can be translated to ‘change your mindset’. We are not called to change what we do, we are called to change our world view. This distinction is important because usually we think of repent as feeling guilty for doing something and then simply performing the things we ought to do, that people have told us define who we are. It’s a call to change how we see, to uncover in us our God given identity as daughters of God, from this emerges acts of love.
If we don’t change how we see things then we will perish, because to live outside of the Kingdom of God is to perish in some ways. It’s more a tragedy than a punishment. Perishing is not something reserved for the afterlife, it can happen right now.
Perish comes from the Hebrew word ‘apollumi’ used to describe the lost sheep in the parable of The Good Shepherd. Anywhere other than our home, the Kingdom of God, is to be lost. But as we see in that parable Jesus leaves the ninety-nine, in search of the apollumi sheep.
'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance." LUKE 15:6-7
It’s easy to simplify this Gospel to questions of eternal life, heaven or hell. I don’t have the answers for such questions but what I can say is there is so much to be revealed in you, now! Some much love within you, yet to shine.
For it is written, “ Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in labour; for more numerous are the children of the desolate than of the one who has a husband” Galatians 4:27
This verse reminds us that the mercy of God is great, greater even for those who need it. So be encouraged. God is not out to get you, he is for you, within you and with you always. He tends to us in our fruitlessness, when there is no sign of improvement, so that we will be a revelation of his goodness.
..Your branches are an orchard of pomegranates with the choicest of fruits, with camphire, with spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Song of Solomon 4:13-14