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The Choice is Yours

he came looking for fruit on it but found none
Exodus 3:1-8,13-15; Psalm 103:1-4,6-8-11; I Corinthians 10:1-6,10-12; Luke 13:1-9

Sermon Week Third Sunday of Lent Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 13:6

A farmer tells the story of the “Miracle Tree” -- an old orange tree on his property which had been severely damaged during a brush fire. Practically all the leaves were burned off, and in many places, the flames had seared through the bark. Since the wounded tree had not borne fruit in several years, the farmer decided to finish it off. He used a tractor with a large scoop to try to push the tree down. Again, and again he banged the tree with the scoop, opening deep gashes in the trunk. But the old orange tree wouldn’t budge. Finally, the farmer quit trying and eventually forgot all about the orange tree.

The following Spring, the farmer was amazed to discover that the tree he had given up on was producing some of the biggest, juiciest oranges he had ever seen. And for many years the “Miracle Tree” continued to bear rich fruit. The farmer explained: The orange tree’s recovery seemed like a miracle. Actually, what happened was part of a natural process that had been retarded by the fire and then shocked back into action by my tractor scoop. When the scoop cut those gashes into the trunk, it forced the energizing sap to begin its natural journey out of the roots and up into the tree. And it just kept on going, right up through the entire tree, giving it new life. The farmer said, “the natural” processes I see and hear on my farm never cease to amaze me. Every day is a miracle if you are open to what’s going on around you. It’s amazing!

In today's Lesson, after telling the crowds that unless they repent, they will perish, Jesus tells a parable about a fig tree that hasn't borne any fruit for three years. The owner wants it destroyed. But the man in charge of cultivating and cutting and pruning appeals to the owner to spare the tree: "Sir, leave it one more year," he says, "and give me time to dig around it and manure it; it may bear fruit next year; if not, then [...]

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