This Sunday I'm all into trees in my sermon. And, as we have the reading of the fig-tree in the vineyard (which has become the apple tree in the translation below!) I wanted to use that theme with my folks at church this Sunday.
Matthew's gospel, chapter 13 verses 6-9:
Then Jesus told them a story: “A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren’t any. He said to his gardener, ‘What’s going on here? For three years now I’ve come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?’
“The gardener said, ‘Let’s give it another year. I’ll dig around it and fertilize, and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn’t, then chop it down.’”
Here is the final part of my sermon:
...Who is the gardener? Is this Jesus, coming to give us one more chance, to pick us up after we have fallen, to speak words of encouragement when we have failed to hit the mark and to set us on our way again? It seems likely that it is Jesus, for the gospel story is full of occasions when someone is given a second chance by Jesus. The key, it seems, is what we do with the second chance we are given - and the third, and the fourth and the fiftieth. Will we bear fruit? Will we strive to live up to our calling? Will we make the most of the opportunity to be who God calls us to be, acknowledging and valuing our differences and our individuality, and celebrating that in others?