Bible Workbench, Lent 3, March 7, 2010

Text: Luke 13:1-9

I was teaching Wednesday morning, in a seminar on American Culture, working with a classroom of community college students in Alexandria, Virginia, sitting around a conference table.  On the other end of a videocamera was a classroom of college students in Madagascar, enrolled in the same course.  It was 8:30 a.m. for us, 3:30 p.m. for them.  I was exploring the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”, looking at it as an American myth.  We pondered the images – dried-up Kansas, orphan Dorothy, Home, cowardly lions, dull scarecrows, and rusted-up tin men; without/within.  The American students were interested, energized, and engaged.  The Madagascar students were very quiet.  At the end of the session, a young woman from the other side of the planet asked me, “You live in a developed nation.  Haven’t you solved all these problems yet?”  The longings, the expectations, the assumptions in this question floored me.

Look at the parable for a moment from the point of view of the fig tree. What expectations does the man have of it?  What expectations does the gardener have of it?  Will it bear fruit?  Won’t it? What does it mean to be a fig tree, with its own internal rhythms and possibilities?

– Beth Harrison

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