Monday, October 30, 2006

The fig tree or living in the now but not yet

Matthew 21.17-22 -- The withered fig tree

“Let no fruit grown on you again” is a rather harsh condemnation since, at least as I’ve been told, figs weren’t in season. This is not a gentle Jesus meek and mild, but one who expects things in and out of season. If the people are silent, the very stones will cry out. But this tree didn’t cry out even though the savior of the world was present.

This story isn’t about the tree, but about our call to be ready for the coming of the Messiah. No one knows the day or the hour when the savior comes, but we are to be ready to receive the anointed one when proper moment arrives. The time is not on a schedule we can fix as the seasons go by. The time is when the eternal enters into our schedules.

Greek has two words for time. One of the words “chronos” has to do with scheduling as in the massage of years, seasons, months, weeks and hours. The other word for time “kairos” has to do with the proper moment.

There are parts of life that just can’t be scheduled very well and parts that will fit no schedule. The right moment to tell someone that you love them is not on a printed schedule but in the moments of silence and conversation. The kairos is experienced at the right time rather than placed on a calendar.
The story of the fig tree asks whether we are using a calendar and marking off what we’ve done to be saved, or whether we are working to be ready for salvation when it arrives. Similar questions, but one expects to count the steps and the other lives in the now but not yet.

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