Friday, October 9, 2009



I promised to come back and comment on the art piece after research and reflection.
Yesterday I spent the day with a friend in the hospital, that was my God-appointed task, perfectly suited and prepared for me. We were both blessed.
But if I had a schedule mapped out, was preempted.
I did look up the parable in its context and felt it was a bit disconnected. The art piece is very interesting, rather stunning. I especially like the fig painted on the glass, apart from the picture of the fig tree itself. Maybe it's because I love figs. (Incidentally, cousin Rosie passed on the last few figs--real figs, not Newtons, mind you--for a snack on my train ride back from Chicago.)
Jesus spoke this parable toward the end of his ministry. The warnings are stronger, the teaching more authoritative. The example of the barren fig tree follows a series of life admonitions.
I am reminded of the Spanish expression ¡Ojo!, (literally, eye) and its accompanying warning gesture--pointing or pulling down on the corner of the eye.
Here is the list of Watch outs.
Be on your guard for:
  • hypocrisy--everything secret will be exposed publicly!
  • fear of persecution--it's only bodily harm
  • blasphemy against the Holy Spirit--unforgivable!
  • greed--can't take anything with you
  • worry--it accomplishes nothing!
Be ready for:
  • service at all times
  • suffering, distress, division--not peace
  • signs of the times--like reading the weather
All that in the previous chapter, then very strong words preceding the parable: "Repent or die!"
And, basically, the example of the fig tree is saying: "If you do not bear fruit you will be cut down!"
The man who took care of the fig tree begs for one more year.
Does the owner grant a second chance?

So, what does this say to me? And, what do I get out of the Art Pilgrimage piece?

It urges me to make the most of every day, every moment for the Master, the King.

I think the beautiful fig on the glass, separate from the tree, shows us the attractive fruit we should be bearing.

I question whether even this blog series is a good use of time and will bear fruit.
The reasoning behind committing to this: I am increasingly drawn to art forms and wanted to challenge myself in the area of interpretation both of the parables and their representations.

What do you think?


Kim said...

I haven't had a chance to hop over to your blog for a couple days. I AM enjoying the art series; they are thought provoking and interesting, and not something I'd have a chance to "see" otherwise. But I do understand that you don't have time to do everything.

The series has also made me think about how I might use my art quilts as more than a creative outlet, that it's possible to share the Word in "pictures" of cloth. Don't have a lot of time now for playing with my ideas except for keeping a sketch/idea book. I look forward to seeing how God will bring all these things together as a way for me to connect with other women who enjoy art in one form or another.

Anonymous said...

I was reading and meditating on this parable and also the art which complemented it. What I get is that the parables before, leading up to this one, and after are Jesus' call to Israel (and the church today) to see their need to turn to him (repent), their inability to live up to the Law, their fruitlessness in their own system of religion. "Repent or you will perish (in your legalistic system)." Jesus is not calling them to live up to some standard of "fruitful living". That is what they were doing already. He is exposing the futility in that. Luke 13:4 states that we all are sinners, but the hypocrites seemed to think they had no need to repent (turn to Jesus for salvation/forgiveness). The bible says if we are IN the Vine, we will bear much fruit. Apart from him we can do nothing. Often our own energies look good externally, but no fruit develops. However, Jesus is patient and longs for his people to become like little children, dependent and expectant of him to create, nurture, fertilize us into bearing big beautiful figs. We cannot commit to being fruitful anymore than we can commit to ceasing sinning. (He who says he has not sin is a ...?) All we can commit to is continually turning to Him, relying on His sacrifice for us, and trusting him to work in us and through us, despite us and often when we are not aware that we are even being fruitful for Him. I see Jesus as the patient gardener, fertilizing and nurturing the barren tree, hoping that it will receive His nutrients and allow fruit to develop. The lovely parable of the crippled woman being healed on the Sabbath immediately follows. She was an untouchable woman bound by Satan, probably seen as a fruitless sinner cursed by God. Jesus walks up to her, TOUCHES her, and heals her ON THE SABBATH, not because she was a model of Godliness, but because she was weak, needy, undeserving and He is compassionate. (That's the Good News!) The ones who had such a problem with that were the religious leaders of the time... Scary.

P.S. Sorry for being lengthy. I couldn't help myself :)

rita said...

That was beautiful, Kristie, thank you! (Your very first comment!)
You certainly found a lot in there, leaning much more toward Grace than Law. Your interpretation makes a lot more sense. I think I swayed by a title in a study book on Luke, which said to look for Jesus teaching about the walk of the believer.
This is exactly what I was hoping would happen with this series--to provoke thought and discussion.
Thanks, again, for taking the time to research, reflect, and respond!