Then Jesus told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"
This Luke 13:6-9 passage was in the lectionary readings for last week, and our focus for worship at Assembly North this past Sunday. I led worship, and wanted some visuals, but it isn't the season for fresh figs in northern Indiana, even in the grocery stores that seem largely unaware of seasons.
But I knew that one of us, Rachel, had been trying to grow a fig tree. I saw it in a large pot at her home several years ago and wondered if she might be able to bring it. As it turns out, she transplanted it to their greenhouse two years ago and it was too big to bring. After several years of barely surviving in the house, it is now thriving -- last year they had several dozen figs from it. It is bare at this time of year, of course, but with excellent timing, she was planning to do some pruning that very week.
For Sunday, I brought dried figs for people to see and taste. Rachel brought a handful of pencil-thick cuttings that could be used to start a fig, a bag full of dried leaves that she had gathered from under the tree, several six foot long branches, and a jar of fig jam. Dried leaves and bare branches sounds dull, but I found their sculptural shapes so fascinating that I brought several home to spend more time with. Here are a few photos -- I'd like to do some sketching and reflection on these signs of past and potential fruitfulness.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"