“The story is about God. The story is about God who sees the suffering of his people in Egypt. It’s about God who sees the oppressive regime of the Egyptian pharos. It’s about God who says enough is enough, I will relieve their suffering, I will free them, I will give them their own land. It’s about God who says my name is I Am. That means no matter where I am, I am present there.
I think it’s worth asking a problematic question: is it appropriate to introduce God in the story here? The people have been enslaved for how long? Couldn’t God have done something sooner? Did God have to wait for Moses to be wandering through the desert with his flock to intervene? I think these questions are real and troubling and should be grappled with, absolutely.
And yet, this is the same God who gives the fig tree another year. Because maybe, just maybe, God is hoping for humanity to figure it out on our own. Maybe God is just hoping that we have enough faith and enough trust in God’s Way of Love that we end up doing it the way God calls us to do it. So that God doesn’t need to intervene, so that God doesn’t need to show up in a burning bush and miraculously make something happen for us, and for others.
Because here’s the thing that’s true about God, that I believe is true about God - God is interested in one thing: flourishing. And people cannot flourish if they are enslaved, whether that is physically, or ideologically, or emotionally. God’s desire is for freedom and for a way of life that bears delicious and life giving fruit. And fruit cannot be produced if the soil of the tree is planted and not given the right kinds of support. Sometimes we need to dig around the tree and put new thoughts, and new ideas and new questions and new realities in place for the tree to be the fullest version of itself. Just put yourself in the place of the tree. Put St. Andrew’s as a church in the place of the tree. If we long for the same flourishing in ourselves and in others that God longs for, then we need to dig around in our lives. We need to dig around in our churches. We need to dig around in our schools. We need to dig around in our governments, in every area of life, and change the way we live, change the things that we hold most dear. Jesus is saying we need to let go of our ideologies and embrace love. Life is short and we have no guarantees in this life beyond what is hear and now. I am who I am. I am fully present. So repent, turn, even if it’s just ever so slightly towards the way of Christ. Love others more deeply, and fully, and let us be for the flourishing of ourselves and others.”
Readings; Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 63:1-8; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13:1-9