Parable of the Blossoming Fig Tree

“ He taught them a lesson. “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. – Luke 21:29

This parable is the second half, if you will, of the Fig tree parables. This parable was taught to the disciples in the Mount of Olives. In the narrative of ALL of the synoptic Gospels ( Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ) , it is clearly noted that Jesus taught everyone present inside the Temple, and then at night he stayed in the Mount of Olives where it is that he spent time there with the other disciples and taught them.

There are a number of interpretations of reason for this parable.- This parable occurs in scripture immediately before the narrative of the Passion of the Lord. In all of these cases this parable comes also after warnings about the coming Kingdom of God meant to give the disciples strength for the journey ahead.

Let us consider the scripture in this light.. The fig tree, in the fullness of summer, they are full, green, and lush. Foliage is beautiful and you can see the fruit on the trees.. They ripen and this is the time of great joy and harvest. To enjoy the fruits of our labors..

The parable speaks of how close it is that the Kingdom of God is. Just as you know that in spring comes and we see all the flowing plants and trees, we know that summer is coming. So it is with the Kingdom of God.

Some of this parable has very apocalyptic language that some of interpreted to mean that this is how you can see that the end times are at hand. Whether or not your personal interpretations fall in that category, this parable has some deeper and more immediate things to say to us.

The time of summer when things happen is much a time of celebration. In most locations, summer is used as a time for vacation, and relaxation, a time to slow down and enjoy life. This can not be quite what happens in our spiritual lives. When we are younger, we learn about God, we get to an understanding of who God is, and where we are, in some respects just comfortable with who we are, where we are and how we relate to God.

Some of our brothers and sisters stop going to church, because they have gotten to a point where they no longer feel that it is relevant to them and their lives. Possibly they feel as though the people who are at church are unable to relate to them, or to where they are in their spiritual journeys. Maybe they stopped going because they had bad experiences, or their own experiences were that they felt unwelcome, or that no one there really cared for them, or for where they were in their journey.

These experiences are failures on the part of the people or person with whom they had that experience.
It easy to live in the summer. The weather is warm and inviting. People are more inviting, more seemingly accepting. There are many resources, and life is basically good all the way around.

Then comes the fall….In the fall and winter, life challenges creep in, there are many challenges, this is the time when we pick up our crosses to walk with God. This may be the time when people feel separated from God, that maybe God is not paying attention, or you may ask WHY it is that God lets this or that happen. This is the time when God is near. I can promise you that God is there and working with you if you let Him ! He is there and loves you for everything you are, and everything you do and have ever done, the good, and the not so good.

For each person, regardless of where you are in your spiritual journey, there are times where you are “in the desert” where you feel like you are apart. I promise you are not. Everyone is a sinner. Even the saints at some point were sinners. One of the great saints ( even if his singular flaw was that she was not Franciscan) was St John of the Cross who wrote “Dark Night of the Soul” which describes how it is that he was suffering and was looking to God for resolution and was not really getting what he felt he needed. It instead describes that dry, frustrating , feeling where there is a longing for resolution but it does not happen when you are looking for it. It is during these times that God is closest and working with us.
In the end, it is up to each of us, to seek God, to ask the hard questions, to seek out the hard answers. Even if we believe that we have gotten to a comfortable place in our spiritual lives it is then that we need to ask more of ourselves. Find the answers and then when we run out of answers to go find the answers. Don’t just ask those questions in one place, ask them in several places and keep asking until you get answers your comfortable with, and then go find more questions to ask.

I wanted to take a moment and say that, if you are a person who have been away from the church, whether it was from a case where you just stopped going or if you were somehow hurt by someone within the church. Let me assure you that we want you to come back to find your spiritual journey. Not every church is the same… Not every Christian is the same…. not every Pastor , clergy, ministry leader is the same. There is a place for you within the Body of Christ, and I for one, want for each of you to come and see. Until you find a place where you are comfortable to restart your journey, to continue your journey, where ever you are, who ever you are… you are welcome. .

The church is not a place for saints, it is a place for sinners who very much need healing and are, to spite their human-ness, very much would like to strive to be better at being the vision of brothers and sisters that we are.

May God give you the gift of His peace. !

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