Meditation: Fig Trees
He shall rebuke the strong nations …they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks…They shall not learn war anymore but every one shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree and no one shall make them afraid. -Micah 4: 3-4
I found faith at the farmers market. It was just a stick in a rusty coffee can but now broad leaves and sprawling branches overshadow the garden. Fig trees provided the first clothing, generous shade in the heat of the day, a year round supply of fresh and dried fruit and rich metaphors and parables. The fruitful fig tree represents faith, wisdom, and peace. These are the elements of the kingdom of heaven.
In The closing chapter of Jesus’ life on earth he cursed the fig tree for not having figs. Most think he was looking for lunch but he was looking for hope. The first fruits of the fig tree appear in early spring and are called breba. An abundance of breba predict a bountiful harvest.
He searched one last time within the Sanhedrin, the temple, the religious institutions and the religious government and found no hope. Then he issued the curse; “No man shall eat fruit from you hence forth forever.” The word “curse” did not carry the connotation of a magic spell as in modern usage. It was much more a matter of fact and the prediction of a wise gardener based on what he observed.
The first fruits, the breba were not there. When the disciples discovered the withered tree the object lesson was complete. Fig wood is weak and decays easily so every trace of the tree would soon be gone. A foretelling of the fate of man’s trust in institutions.
Adam and Eve demonstrated our human tendency to fashion, with our own hands, the garments of institutions and governments to cover our vulnerability. Modern day Christian, Jewish or Islamic governments which separate, alienate, dominate and punish bear no fruit. These trees only produce the cane for punishment.
On the other hand, the loving wisdom of the eternal gardener plants us in fertile soil and sustains us with his wisdom. The flowers of all fig trees are buried deep within the fruit and can not be seen just as the origin of the kingdom of heaven is hidden in our hearts. We thrive and produce an abundant crop of spirit fruit.
Prayer: Heavenly gardener, tender of my soul, help me not to give way to fear and seek refuge in church or state governments. May the first fruits of faith bring abundant rewards. Let love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control issue forth from me to satisfy hungry hearts. I pledge my allegiance to your law of love. Amen