|Pentecost 4, Year C||July 7, 2019||4th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 9||Galatians 6:1-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20|
|Pentecost 3, Year C||June 30, 2019||Pentecost 3, Proper 8, Year C||Psalm 16, Galatians 5:1,13-25, Luke 9:15-62|
|Pentecost 2, Year C||June 23, 2019||Pentecost 2, Proper 7, Year C||Galatians 3:23-29|
|Trinity Sunday, Year C||June 16, 2019||Trinity Sunday, Year C||John 16:12-15|
|Pentecost, Year C||June 9, 2019||The Day of Pentecost, Year C||Acts 2:1-21, John 14:8-17, 25-27|
|Easter 7, Year C||June 2, 2019||The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C||Psalm 97, Acts 16:16-34, John 17:20-26|
|Easter 6, Year C||May 26, 2019||Easter 6, Year C||John 14:23-29|
|Easter 5, Year C||May 19, 2019||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C||John 13:31-35|
|Easter 4, Year C||May 12, 2019||Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C||Psalm 23; John 10:22-30|
|Easter 3, Year C||May 5, 2019||Third Sunday of Easter, Year C||John 21:1-19|
|Easter 2, Year C||April 28, 2019||Easter 2, Year 2||John 20:19-31|
|Easter Sunday, 2019||April 21, 2019||Easter Sunday||John 20:1-18|
|Good Friday, 2019||April 19, 2019||Good Friday||John 18:1-19:42|
|Maundy Thursday, April 18, 2019||April 18, 2019||Maundy Thursday||John 13:1-17, 31b-35|
|Palm Sunday, Year C||April 14, 2019||Palm Sunday, Year C||Luke 23:26|
Third Sunday in Lent, Year C
Sermon Date:March 24, 2019
Scripture: Luke 13:1-9
Liturgy Calendar: Third Sunday in Lent, Year C
Alexander Master – “The parable of the barren fig tree” – 1430
Recently I heard a story about a woman who had to go to court.
She needed a lawyer to help her present her case, and at the very least seek a continuation of the case so that she’d have more time to sort through the issues and bring some positive information about her case to the court.
She couldn’t afford a lawyer, so she went through the hearing alone, and as a result, lost the case.
In today’s gospel, the fig tree is put on trial.
“This tree is useless. It isn’t bearing fruit,” the master says. “Cut it down.”
But the gardener, who serves as the lawyer for the fig tree, seeks a continuation—
“Sir, let it alone for one more year, the gardener says, “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.”
The gardener sought a continuation from the master who is judging the fig tree, and got the continuation. Now the fig tree has another year in which to bear fruit.
We are all like that fig tree in today’s gospel.
Jesus serves as our gardener.
When we get judged, Jesus patiently intercedes for us, and asks for more time,
because Jesus sees that we all have the potential to bear fruit in our lives, even if we aren’t bearing fruit right now, just like the gardener saw that the fig tree COULD bear fruit, given a little more time and some manure applied around the roots.
Manure is a waste product and when it’s fresh, it smells bad, and it can burn roots if it’s applied to plants too quickly.
So a good gardener will compost the manure,
Because the manure has a high mineral content, and when manure ages and gets composted, these minerals help plants to grow into their greatest potential.
The mistakes we make in our lives, all the ways we’ve failed, all of that manure in our lives smells bad, and can burn our roots.
But being the good gardener that he is, Jesus wants to take the time to compost the manure in our lives into the manure can become the fertilizer we that we need to bear good fruit.
I propose then, that instead of wallowing in the manure of our lives, or just blowing off the wrongs we’ve done, or trying to hide them from ourselves and others, and even from God, that we turn the manure in our lives over to Jesus for composting.
Offer up this manure up to Jesus for transformation!
Because this is the manure that Jesus will patiently compost and apply to our roots so that we can bear the good fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Eunice and Roger have a young relative who was addicted to drugs. This addiction to drugs was the manure in his life.
But he turned this manure of addiction over to Jesus, and now he has been freed of his addiction to drugs. Now he says that his drug of choice is music, which he uses to praise God and to help others turn their addictions over to God.
Jesus composted the manure of addiction and turned that addiction into something good for this young man, so that he is now bearing good fruit and helping others.
Some manure in my life that I need to turn over to Jesus for composting, among many other things in my life, is the manure of impatience.
I want to offer that impatience up to Jesus in hopes that when Jesus composts it, all the impatient manure I have in my life will become the compost that enriches my focus on God and my love for my neighbor.
For instance, while I was writing this sermon, my phone rang several times, distracting me from the task at hand.
I wanted to scream with impatience!
And adding fuel to the fire, one of the callers was yet another Medicare supplement telemarketer.
But if I turn my impatience over to Jesus, Jesus can compost my impatience –which I will always have–and turn that manure of impatience into these fruits of the spirit– love, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.
Once Jesus composts the manure of my impatience, I could answer the phone, not with impatience, but with the thought that I will be speaking with a child of God, who needs love, patience, kindness, and gentleness from me, all of which I can provide if I have turned the manure of my impatience over to Jesus for composting.
We have just gotten a compost bin for St Peter’s as part of our on-going efforts as a parish to care for God’s good creation.
All those Wednesday Bible study coffee grounds will now get turned into compost rather than being wasted by going to the landfill. We can also put vegetable waste from Village Dinners and anything from the Village Harvest that we’ve thrown over the fence, as well as grass clipping and leaves into the bin.
But today, we are going to add the very first ingredients to this compost bin—our own bits of manure that we want to offer up to Jesus for composting, so that, with the help of Jesus the gardener, we can grow the fruits of the Spirit.
I’ve put some compostable paper in each pew. Please take a piece of this paper and write down something that you want Jesus to compost for you.
I’m going to put impatience on my piece of paper.
A good way to think of what you want to write down is something you might name when we confess our sins each Sunday.
So name your manure by writing it on the paper. I’m going to come around with an envelope, also biodegradable. Please place your manure in the envelope.
And then, after church today, I’m going to put this envelope in our new compost bin, where it will turn into compost, along with all those coffee grounds, for the good of the soil here at St Peter’s.
And as you take the time to acknowledge that smelly manure, and to turn it over to Jesus,
be sure that Jesus will take your manure, and being the good gardener that he is, will compost it, and put it around your roots, so that you can bear good fruit.