Lent 3 - Year C
Do you think that those whose Lenten experience includes a physical hanging on a cross makes them better saints than those who only avoid chocolate? These kinds of distinctions or arguments go on in every arena of life. Are those who are killed in battle better patriots than those who simply pay their taxes to support a military/industrial/educational complex or participate in some form of "loyal opposition"/conscientious objection?
Jesus tells an interesting story. After talking about repenting and repenting again, we hear about the value of manure leading to fruit. This is a process of renewal that reaches back to creation. Consider G*D as manure, changing the nature of the dust of the earth into a living being that will eventually return to dust (a slightly different picture than that on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel). This catalytic nature of manure that will transform dead wood into fruiting wood is worth considering as a process. So it is with forgiveness, an investing in the grounding of another that a different fruit will eventuate. So it is with assurance, an investment in our own ground-of-being that a new flowering will come to pass. Note that this is not an automatic and guaranteed outcome of manure or forgiveness/assurance. There may not be a fruiting, a renewed life. But, without the attempt the odds of change are minimal (remembering that everything is possible).
By this wonderful image of manure we pause to consider what element is most needed in our own life that we might come to a point of abundant living, of being restored to our best dust. Is it a more extreme discipline? Is it more coin of the realm? Is it more time to bloom? Is it assurance or forgiveness? Is it a 70% chocolate bar? Well?