I have in my garden, not a fig tree, but an Autumn Olive tree (elaeagnus umbellata) It is a hardy specimen, good for creating wind breaks and a nitrogen fixer so it is a team player in the garden, but perhaps not quite so hardy as the welsh climate requires given that we regularly have winds on the hill around 30mph+. It has, each year, given a little fruit. It would be nice to have a little more and as it is only a young tree I’ve been feeding it and tending to it faithfully for three years. If we take this parable of Jesus to the letter, then this year is the year of reckoning. If I don’t get a jar of Autumn Olive Jam, then we shall have to see, though I suspect it will survive. For Lent this year I’ve chosen to reflect on our readings through the book and Film One Day. It is a love story centred around Emma and Dexter. We see them one day a year for twenty years. On this particular year on 15th July – we see Dexter visiting his mother. He is at this point a slightly famous television presenter who seems to have it all, yet has nothing which really makes him happy. He visits his parents, a task he is not looking forward to. His mother is ill and she takes the opportunity to tell Dexter that she is not sure that she likes her son as he is. “Can I speak frankly?” she says, “I think it is my prerogative.” “You’re going to be a fine man Dexter, I just don’t think you are there yet.” Indeed he is not there yet – he has a long way to go to become a fine man. Dexter is missing something in his life. Meaning and purpose come to mind, gone is the youthful optimism of post university life. And gone is Emma Morley who is slowly making a career for herself as a teacher. So Dexter has not yet born the fruit that he might one day be capable of. Much like the fig tree in the parable and the Autumn Olive in my garden. The gardener suggests something interesting. Leave it one more year, i’ll feed it and we’ll see if it bears fruit. If not, then you can cut it down. Give it a chance says the gardener. You might have expected the gardener to have been feeding the tree all along. It hasn’t made it on its own, so it might now need a little help. Much like Dexter, and like us this Lent, we could all do with a little help, though something other than manure around our roots I would hope. And so for the meantime I offer you a little food for the soul in the hope that we too might mature and bring forth fruit.
Is Lent a time adrift, in a land where
there is no separation, encompassing
all that is, that has been and that shall be.
Drifting in-between a world that connects
from selfish to generous, from against
to with, from arrogant to humble.
Time to awaken re-engage, re-create,
re-generate. In harmony, walking alongside
as we open our eyes to see the beauty within
us and around us.
Awaken the yearning spirit connected
deep down to every living, breathing,
growing being. To the trees, rivers,
mountains, grass, animals, fish. Enable
us to see they are created in your image
as we are. Reconnect us to each other.
For they honour you with each budding,
petal opening, leaf unfolding. The quiet
breath, the crawling life transforming,
the buzzing of the faithful servant.
And it is the Christ in whom they have
their being, Christ who was before all
things, in all things and through all things.
Treasure it, love it, live it, breathe it,
honour it and live in the knowledge
and light of the Christ, in the unity
that defies definition or description.