Nourish the Soil

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none…(Luke 13:6)

If year after year I too am fruitless,
it is not for want of grace, for want
of a vine dresser to plead my plaintive case.
No, fruitlessness stems from only this:
that, granted all the soil in the world,
I prefer to go it alone,
feeding from my own proud stalk,
refusing sun, abusing breath.
What I reject as manure is
the food that I should humbly eat.
Another year; another day;
a thousand years in your gracious sight:
grant me the drooping roots to take
the life rising from Your soil.

Resolution 2: Slow Fruit

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Nothing purposed is instant. Fruit grows
first by roots spreading deep,
nutrients drawn, sunlight synthesised,
chlorophyll taking glory from green.
Look to the fig tree. If you see its buds,
Summer’s promise dangles, yet is not realised.
Tantalising, like
a kitten’s ball of yarn, or a note
waiting to resolve, a game
of slow expectancy.
New year brings blossoms
but fruit is never instant. Trees
ask for patient expectation.
Come here daily; look to leaves
yet wait before you pick.

Catechism 50

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What does Christ’s resurrection mean for us?
Christ triumphed over sin and death by being physically resurrected, so that all who trust in him are raised to new life in this world and to everlasting life in the world to come. Just as we will one day be resurrected, so this world will one day be restored. But those who do not trust in Christ will be raised to everlasting death.
(New City Catechism)

And so, like the first fruits, He shows us what will be,
like the early fig I saw when winter had ravaged the tree:
hopeful, I return every day, expectant of the taste.
So it is for the spirit.

Sometimes its workings are invisible
yet it is firm, this life which grabs you, arrests you.
Step out and see. Today is not like that first garden.
That day we clutched onto life that was not ours
This will not end. Though it linger, wait.

First you ate the fruit of death; now life’s fruit is on the tree.
You sow each day; tomorrow, reap
what life or death may bring.

Lent: Emmaus 3

Too fast you walk down the mountainside;
momentum gathers, yet of a false and fleeting kind.
A fig tree full of leaves, but fruit sorely lacking,
you see the glory but faint at the sight of blood.

Slow down. It is a long road and your companion lingers;
His death puts brakes on our downward slide.
Listen: past, present, future all gathered in Him,
the words of life may echo

if you heed the words of death.

Mark 11

No doubt
if food was all that He required
He could have made it bear for Him
but leaves had presaged early fruit
and nothing showed there yet.

Not the season
for figs, and yet
He who made the fig tree sprout
could change the seasons with His will.
If curses worked, then why not blessings?
Why leave it languishing?

Inside His house,
perhaps the answer: His tree,
His orchard, refusing fruit.
The the clay says to the potter, Why?
O God, we ask, and yet we trust
for daily signs of fruit on us.

We cannot grow alone.