This week’s reflections focus on the texts from the Third Sunday in Lent: Isaiah 55:1-9; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; and Luke 13:1-9.
From the Isaiah text, we pondered the use of the verb “buy.” Why would the author choose buy, when there is no money being exchanged? Why not rather use, “receive” or “take”? If the wine and milk are without price, does that imply something about the products, or the one selling them?
The question in verse two struck a resonant chord with us in our own lives. Why do we labor for that which does not satisfy? We spent some time sharing about activities that we fill our free time with, but that do not actually fill us back up for the rest of our day. We also pondered about the lives we lead, and how we have contributed or satisfied the needs that exist around us in our communities.
Verse five’s declaration that God has glorified the people seemed ambiguous. Especially given the reminder in verse eight and nine that God’s ways are not our ways. Thinking back to last week’s conversation about foxes and hens recalled for us how worldly conceptions of glory may not be accurate comparisons of what God means when God glorifies someone.
As we looked to the texts of the New Testament, Joe said he felt they were in contradiction with one another. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians seems to warn against various behaviors for the repercussions that follow. If Paul is making a cause and effect connection, then his point stands against Jesus message in the Luke passage about how the harm that comes to people in this life isn’t always because of their own actions. We talked about this, and pondered whether Paul’s case is in line with Jesus’ message, if it is a warning against results rather than divine punishments. If Paul is instead recalling that God’s laws are given as a blessing to God’s people, and is simply pointing to the harms we cause ourselves and our communities when we act in immoral or ungrateful ways.
Within the passage from Luke, we wondered about the symbolic meaning behind the parable of the fig tree. Do the owner and the gardener have particular meaning? What does the fig tree represent, and what is the nature of the fruit it is bearing? Is this parable a social commentary on the dynamics at play between Rome and the Jewish people? A religious allegory between God and sinners? We felt confident that the meaning of Jesus’ parable isn’t Gardener Jesus pleading for more time for Fig Tree Sinner from Owner God.
If this summary has piqued your interest, share your thoughts in the comments below. Also, feel free to join us after worship on Sundays at Trinity, or online for our Thursday evening Google hangouts. Email Joe (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about the text study, or are interested in getting involved. Blessings on your Lenten season.