Three weeks down, but who’s counting?

Lent-3-tissot-james-jacques-joseph-the-barren-fig-tree-illustration-for-the-life-of-christ-c-1886-94There was this tree.  And it was supposed to have fruit, but it didn’t.  The owner of the land went to the gardener and said, what’s up with this tree?  It’s been years and still no fruit.  Just cut it down.   It’s taking up precious space and using valuable nutrients.  But the gardener intervened for the tree and said, give it another chance.  If I take proper care of it.   If I nourish it.  If I just give it some special attention, who knows what fruit it might bear?  Give it another year.  Let’s see where we are a year from now.

A re-write of a portion of Sunday’s sermon text from Luke.

What would we do with the gift of another year?   It’s a question I ask during pre-marital counseling.  Strictly hypothetically, what if your spouse was given six months to live, what would you do?  The answers do not vary much — I’d quit my job and spend every minute together.   I’d do all I could to make everything on her bucket list come true.  New Year’s Resolutions are made in much the same spirit — what will I do with this year?

But we are humans with short attention spans, and a year is a long ways away.  We’ve got more time before we actually have to make changes, right?  We don’t have to start today, do we? We always think we have more time, and we are people who push deadlines.

So, let’s start with a shorter expanse of time.  What are you going to do today?  This morning.  Later in the afternoon.  Tonight right after dinner.  There is some urgency to being who God is calling us to be.

We had some fun with urgency yesterday in church.  It was fun that emerged from a serious health situation involving a member family.  It is very recent news that we are just starting to digest.  What can we do?  We can pray.  It was that time in the service when we pray for those in our church who have asked for our prayers.  Of course this family would know we’d be doing this — if not for the surgery late last week, they’d be right there with us.  They would know, but would they feel the prayers?

We decided to text our prayers.  Over 50 text messages sent — all at the same time.   And on the receiving end?  Our dear church member was coming back to her room after a walk around the hospital floor and started hearing one vibration after another.  And another.  Then another.  She couldn’t imagine what it was until she walked into her room and picked up her phone and saw that it was her church family praying for her.  Holding the phone in her hand as the messages kept coming.   How often do we hear the words, I’ll pray for you.  She literally felt the vibrations of those prayers.  And she has them right at her fingertips today when she needs to be reminded.

So, can we do that in the middle of a church service?  Get out our phones and send a text  message?  Absolutely we can.  We seized the moment to let someone know we care.  We seized the moment to say you are not alone.  We laughed.  We cried.

What could we have been doing at that particular moment that was any more Christ-like? If Jesus had a smartphone, that is …

Why put off until tomorrow what you could do today.  What can you do today to be more like Christ.  We may have afig_tree11 year or 50.  But we will never have this day again.  Someone needs to know you are there for them.  Someone needs a delicious fig from the tree that God has tended and nourished and allowed to thrive.  That delicious fig is you.  You’ll discover there’s plenty good fruit on that tree once you make the decision to share.

Blessings and peace –

Pastor Kris

About Pastor Kris

Hello.  I'm Rev. Kristine Eggert, recently retired after serving as Senior Pastor of Disciples Christian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. I'm the Co-Founder and Executive Director of God Before Guns, a multi faith coalition of individuals and faith communities working to end gun violence.  In retirement, I believe God is calling me to work as a progressive Christian activist in social justice causes.
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