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Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Lent  2019

March 31, 2019

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Sermon for the 3rd Sunday of Lent  2019

March 24, 2019

Exodus 3:1-15          Psalm 63:1-8           I Corinthians 10:1-13           Luke 13:1-9


       On one level today’s gospel is a pastoral moment frozen in time, asking for a response from Jesus, addressed to the deepest thoughts and aches of the human heart.  We all sin, we all fall far from the path of Jesus.  Do we deserve another year to get it right?  When we hear of other’s misfortune, what is our response?  Do we think they deserve it?  Did they do something wrong?        

       Jesus answered the people’s questions about the Galileans who have died.  Were they sinners who didn’t repent?  Jesus said that these who had died were no worse than their fellows, then warned his listeners, “I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did.”  He then proceeded to tell them a parable from a world they knew.  A man had a fig tree in his vineyard, but when he looked for figs, he found none.  He reminded the gardener that for three years he had been looking for figs and had been disappointed each year.  Now his mind was made up: “Cut it down! Why should it go on using up the soil?”

      It was a sound business decision.  Not only was the fig tree unproductive, it was using up resources of nature and the time of laborers, which might otherwise be more productive.  But the gardener appealed for “just one more year.”  He promised the owner that he would double his efforts to save the tree by digging around it and adding fertilizer.  If this extra