Weekly e-Devotion: March 22 Edition

Luke 13:1-9

Gospel Lesson for Sunday March 24 2019

13At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. 4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”6 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. 7So 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?’ 8He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig round it and put manure on it. 9If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”

   Amendment of Life

   The ancients called the discipline of confession and repentance amending our lives. The key is to be reflective and self-aware—with God’s grace—to see the need for it!
    What if you only had one year left to live? Some of us actually do but mercifully (perhaps?), we don’t know it! When we’re young it feels as though we have been given eternal life; being a member of AARP is not even conceivable since we will be ‘forever young.’ I remember living with a sense that all good things lay before me, the world really was my ‘oyster,’ and I had a million-plus years to get done anything I might want to accomplish. Alas. We all know how that ends, don’t we? The older we get, the faster time moves along and the slower we are at catching up to it. It is now (as really, it always was) a matter of priorities and what our hearts value.
   
In this story Jesus is letting us know what our #1 priority should be… offer ourselves to be pruned and fertilized now before the gardener has no choice but to wield the ax! “Repent now,” Jesus said in Matthew 25:13, because no one (not even Jesus!) knows the day or the hour when the Gardener will put the finishing touches on his garden of delight!
   
It is so much easier to cling to the merciful part of the story, the part where a year’s reprieve is given for us to get our acts together. It gives us time to do all the things we want to do before—as we often believe—we must give up all the good stuff in order to follow the Lord. But there is always a counterpoint to mercy and that is God’s judgment for those who delay or refuse to give themselves to the One who tends our souls. Events such as 9/11 or mass shootings, plane crashes, auto pile-ups, flash floods or apocalyptic fires cannot be predicted with any certainty; nor do they conveniently align one-to-one with anybody’s guilt or innocence. Beware of gambling with eternal life using only the tokens of mortality that we have been given!
   
Lent is set aside precisely to focus on the whole process of dying in order to live; of rooting out iniquity to make room for holiness; of counting the days and counting the cost; of turning around in repentance and receiving the waters of Life. Anything you must lop off in the process will go into a compost pile of ‘lessons learned’ which will be able to feed you and those saplings around you now and into eternity! Turn your face toward the Son and allow some divine photosynthesis into your life! With the help of the Gardener, we can produce fruits in keeping with our repentance (Matthew 3:8). Jesus came to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:19). Let us make the very most of his “year” of reprieve!

e-Devotion author: Nance Wabshaw.
If you are interested in becoming an e-Devotion author, please contact Pastor Dan Hoeger at dhoeger@allsaintsphoenix.org or 602.866.9191 .

The e-Devotion can also be viewed on the All Saints website or our Facebook page.


PRAYER FOR THE WEEK

 Heavenly Father, we repent and turn to you. Save us, forgive us, heal us. Amen


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BIBLE READINGS

Mar 24
3rd Sunday in Lent
Click HERE to read
Isaiah 55:1-9
Psalm 63:1-8
1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Luke 13:1-9 *

Mar 31
4th Sunday in Lent
Click HERE to read
Joshua 5:9-12

Psalm 32
2 Corinthians 5:16-2
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

* eDevotion Bible text(s)


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