March 20, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C
I Corinthians 10:1-13
I’ve added a good amount of dark now to the background of this piece, but I did it after I had already added gold. I tried to work around the gold, but things got messy. At one point, I had black over much of the gold and it felt as though I was going backwards. The similarities of this experience with that of the spiritual journey were not lost on me as I worked. I make progress, and then I digress. I mess it up. My needs become great.
I like the story Jesus tells us this week about the fig tree that is no longer bearing fruit. The vineyard owner tells the gardener to cut it down, but the gardener argues to leave it one more season with some additional tending and fertilizing and see if a change happens.
Lent is the season for spiritual check-ups. It’s good to do a walk through like the vineyard owner in Jesus’ parable. It is good to observe and reflect on the state of our own being, our own heart. This is necessary work. I personally don’t feel like I’ve done Lent proper justice if I haven’t taken the Spirit’s hand and embarked on a tour within.
You may find it helpful to set aside a block of time to do a spiritual assessment using questions such as these:
Have I born fruit in the last year?
If so, what is that fruit?
If not, why not? What needs change, help or pruning?
What attitudes, beliefs, practices and habits are serving me and fostering growth? Which are not?
Where would I like to be on my spiritual journey next year at this time?
A man has a fig tree planted in his vineyard. One day he comes out looking for fruit on it, but there are no figs. He says to the vineyard keeper, “Look at this tree. For three years, I’ve come hoping to find some fresh figs, but what do I find? Nothing. So just go ahead and cut it down. Why waste the space with a fruitless tree?”
The vineyard keeper replies, “Give it another chance, sir. Give me one more year working with it. I’ll cultivate the soil and heap on some manure to fertilize it. If it surprises us and bears fruit next year, that will be great, but if not, then we’ll cut it down.” — Luke 13:6-9