Worship Reflection Sunday, March 20, 2022

You Are Worthy

Luke 13:1-9

Expansive life doesn’t look how we might expect it to, in fact as privileged people steeped in a culture of independence and white supremacy we often need to be reminded that our worth doesn’t come from our productivity or any more than our ability to make it in an unjust system does.

Read scripture Luke 13:1-9

When we hear this passage too often we jump to conclusions about our production and worth, but I was surprised to hear the question that popped into the mind of rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia who wrote commentary for our series. She wrote:

The first thing I want to know is why a fig tree is in the midst of a vineyard. The tree would not be of primary focus in a field cultivating grapes, apparently planted only so that no inch of the ground is squandered. Many of us experience the world as a fig tree in the midst of grape vines. We are placed in fields not meant for us and yet expected to thrive. People discount and doubt us, threatening to cut us down if we don’t produce in the ways that have been defined on our behalf. We are afterthoughts demanded to bear fruit or be destroyed. The story of the fig tree reminds us that the world’s expectations do not need to be ours. by Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia

As people of faith she offers 3 interpretations for us to consider: the first is that we may be living a “fig tree existence” needing “nourishment and tending” so that we grow into our purpose.” This invites us to recognize and receive the gifts of compassion and love our creator intended for us all. Perhaps we need to give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves and recognize that we might be unique among a field of grape vines, requiring something different than what those around us do.

The second and third are linked, she suggests

“that we may be people with power, and called to disrupt our knowledge of how the world works AND OUR COMPLICITY in the earthly systems of measurement so that everyone has the opportunity to thrive. And still others provide nurture in solidarity, trusting that intentional care will lead to new life.

Together, we invest in a fruitful Creation.”

Friends, some of us live the existence of the fig tree and we need this message of care, but as a community of faith we must not throw away our power to challenge and disrupt the system that tells us day in and out that productivity of a certain kind of fruit is the only way to be. We must journey alongside one another and our community to nurture the ways of creation that the Holy invites us into so that all may thrive.

We do these things so that we don’t become the one or the group who decries the worth of someone because they don’t fit neatly into our expectations, but instead tend to one another carefully and intentionally recognizing our varied needs and experiences.

So today I invite you to wonder, what does your soul need? How can you tend it or let it be cared for in ways that counter the message of worldly worth?

I wonder What does our community need? How can we leverage our power to care for the vines and trees in our midst? We are invited to wonder and act in both realms, because this world needs more than vines or trees alone, it needs each of us, all of us. It needs those beyond our fields too, and by limiting our vision for care we limit the vastness of creation and inhibit the ways we find meaningful purpose to worth and productivity, contrary to the vision of abundant life for all. Recognizing this might call us to care for ourselves differently, it might call us to be patient and see beyond our scope of view to gods, or it might even call us to wake into the muck so that we can travel alongside others who are there, but if we do we might glimpse the wider view of abundance that the Divine envisions. May it be so. Amen.