November 12, 2014 – The Fig Tree

Good morning all!  We have made it to Wednesday!

Today’s scripture: Matthew 24:32:35
32 From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

For some reason I have always wanted to grow a fig tree.  My mom has been asking for a Christmas list so maybe this could be on it (there is the beginning of one, Mom!). I think that they are really fascinating trees.  I always have thought how weird looking but beautiful they are.  Plus I want to benefit from the fruit that they produce.  When I went to Israel almost ten years ago, I had the most wonderful figs and that is where the love began. I don’t know that I had ever had fresh lovely figs.  When I came home, one of my friends had a fig tree in their backyard that I had never noticed before.  The leaves were gorgeous and we could get this beautiful fruit here in Oregon!

Last spring I went over to someone’s house to get a tour of how they have laid out their backyard differently. I have used this families honey harvest gear.  They have been so gracious to share their spinner with me when we harvest. I was returning the spinner and lo and behold, they have a fig tree! I gasped and out loud I said, “I have always wanted to plant a fig tree.”  The couple immediately told me that if I do get one, make sure to grow it in a very large pot.

Why? Why would I put such boundaries on my beautiful tree?  They explained to me that fig trees get huge!  This trees are made to last.  If in the right spot, they grow beyond what you can handle and put down the most extensive roots because these trees last for generations…maybe not as long as olive trees but for decades to come.  They explained that they had figured out that to keep the tree to a size that they can harvest figs, this is what they came up with.  Plus if they ever had to move, they could take this treasure with them.  How smart!

Figs grow fruit usually twice a year in full bearing.  The first harvest is ready in June in warmer climates….aka in the Middle East.  This harvest is a good indication of the weather to come.  Jesus is no dummy to this.  In fact, Jesus is a master at bringing out the best object lessons. Jesus uses what is right in front of our noses to bring things to light.  Mustard seed is prevalent in the Middle East (much like blackberry seeds here).  The fig tree is long lasting, produces gorgeous fruit, grows to great heights, is well respected, and brings regular indications of the season to come.  If there is something off with the fig tree, there is something off period.  When the fig tree starts to produce, summer time is coming. And for Jesus, when certain things happen God is near….

Matthew is creating a commentary on when Jesus will return to us.  Matthew is the second gospel writer. His community is waiting for Jesus to return in their lifetime.  They are convinced this is happening any moment.  This is what they remember him saying as far as his return.

But I want to move it into present realm.  Much like certain harvests tell us when seasons arrive, what would indicate that Jesus is present now.  What do you notice differently when God is present?  What changes around you?  Some people might relate this to “thin space.” (A topic for another day).  Some might relate this to a way that someone interacts with you. Some might find God in natural spaces, where the air feels clearer and more distinct.

For me, my body shifts to a more aware space.  Then I know God is showing up. This is holy ground. Something about the space around me starts to alert me that this moment won’t happen again and it is oh so important. I can’t quite explain it but it tells me to pay attention. Be aware. The time is shifting a bit.

Look around today and find the indicators. What are your fig trees?  What tells you that God is here or approaching?

Peace,
C

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Daily devotional begins!

Welcome to the daily devotional!

You can always let me know if you want to add anyone or unsubscribe. I will be exploring what we call the daily lectionary each day. This is a text that is used worldwide to explore scripture. This is the first time that I have explored “extended Advent.” We will see what this brings up for us. The idea is to mirror Lent with our waiting time this fall, moving into winter. Advent is about when Jesus comes back to the earth and we long for that kind of transformation.  I believe that the world yearns for these kinds of conversations.  It feels good to start this much earlier.

Sundays will be shorter due to the nature of what I do on Sundays in worship. I will use whatever scripture we will be using on Sunday morning to explore.


Today’s scripture is: Matthew 13:24-34 (NRSV)

24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing.


Those pesky weeds!  We all have them. We have them in our yards and for me they get overwhelming and here is Jesus saying that we really can’t pull them out. The truth is that we all have a mixture of weeds and good wheat.  They are intertwined in our own lives. Sometimes it is really hard to tell which is which until we have created fruit.  Here are some thoughts before I run to preach about it this morning….

If the weeds and wheat are people and we are tempted to help pull them, this scripture becomes about how it’s not our job. Plus we don’t really know which is which.

If the weeds and wheat are things within us, then we might have to learn how to appreciate both.

If the weeds and wheat are about what we do out in the world, then both have value and again it is not up to us to take care of it right away.

Good news…God is right along side us when we discover which is wheat and which is weeds….it’s all part of the kingdom here on earth.

Ok, I could go on for a while but I need to run.  More tomorrow.  Thanks for joining me on this journey!  Feel free to comment back often, visit my blog at https://pastorcourt.wordpress.com, and send the link to others. 🙂

Peace,
Courtney