March 14, 2004

Luke 13:1-9

About that time [when Jesus was exhorting people to see the current God-season] some people came up and told him about the Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. Jesus responded, "Do you think those murdered Galileans were worse sinners than all the Galileans? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you too will die. And those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you too will die."

Then he told them a story: "A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren't any. He said to his gardener, "What's going on here? For three years now I've come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?'

"The gardener said, 'Let's give it another year. I'll dig around it and fertilize; and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn't, then chop it down."

<The Message>

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1. I wonder if there might be another question asked in these days about the number of Iraqis killed by the US preemptive invasion. Were they worse terrorists (if they were at all) than their neighbors in Israel, Iran, or and other "I" country? Did they deserve to be the example? Who is next on the never-ending list of people that ought to be like us?

2. When a house burns, a bridge collapses, a flash flood traps a vehicle – what are we to make of such a situation? Surely there is meaning here? Good question?

Might they be simply the diversions we need to continue to avoid the issue of call? If we focus on what possible meaning these events have in the lives of others we can slip away from any meaning our life is to put on. Unless we turn to our calling and follow where it leads, we will fritter away our time.

3. The story Jesus tells might be a story of the GOD of Adam and Even and the GOD of Noah. In the first place the owner chops things down by setting flaming angels to work. In the second place the owner recognizes that destruction doesn't lead to renewal. What about the GOD of your life?