This Sunday night we’ll have our next Fellowship Dinner immediately following the service in the Parish Hall. I hope you’ll be there to enjoy dinner and each others’ presence. It’s going to be a great time.
As I was preparing for Sunday’s sermon, I got off track a bit - as I’m wont to do - and noticed a parallel story where Jesus curses a fig tree because it has no fruit (Matt 21:18-19). The tree withers and dies. That’s it. Why did Jesus do this? Isn’t he supposed to be kind and loving? Jesus sounds more like a rogue member of a biker gang than the second person of the Trinity here.
As I read the commentary, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word, I was so captivated by the author’s explanation of this cursing which he called ‘spiritual sterility.’ Jesus didn’t curse the fig tree because it was a bad tree or because Jesus was in a bad mood. He cursed it because it had ceased to do the very thing it was created to do. It had ceased being a fig tree. Fig trees do one thing. They bear figs. The author says this: “From a fig tree Jesus expects nothing but figs; and so it is the tree’s inability to be itself fully, despite the nature bestowed on it so generously, that occasions the curse of its Creator” (421).
All of us have wrestled with identity - who are we in light of what we do? Our culture puts so much emphasis on the merits of our work, our title, our station in life, and it’s so difficult not to get caught up in this pursuit. I’ve wrestled with those questions recently. Who am I? Well, a husband, a father, a priest, a friend, a brother, a son. But what most fundamentally defines who I am? And, how can I be myself fully?
We’ll look at this question and try to understand how it relates to repentance and the season of lent we find ourselves in.
Looking forward to Sunday with great expectation -