Towers and Trees

[Jesus said,] “‘Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them–do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.'” – Luke 13:4-5

Boy, you’re cranky again today, aren’t you, Jesus?
Somebody asks a simple question, “Did you hear
about those Galileans slain by Pilate?” and
the Jesus train goes off the rails. Did anyone say anything
about the reason that they died? I mean, did anyone
say anything to place the blame?

So… we thought it. Yes. We thought it. But
that’s not the same as saying it, you know.

It’s not like Pilate slaughters innocents… well. Much.
OK, he’s chief of all the Roman goons. Chief goon.
Yet still you know that people say and do the stupid stuff
that gets these goons riled up. They played their part,
these Galileans, sure as anything you’d name,
and brought destruction on themselves.

Although it must be said they likely didn’t deserve
all that, struck down at prayer.

Who’s setting the direction of the conversation now?
Nobody mentioned towers in Jerusalem.
Nobody blamed the souls extinguished when
Siloam fell. Still – there must have been a reason, right?
Does it make sense for chance and malice to
strike down so many lives like this?

And really you will tell us, tell me, tell humanity
that they did nothing wrong – but we will earn our deaths?

Boy, you’re cranky again today, aren’t you, Jesus?
You will not fool me with this fig tree figure here.
“No fruit,” I hear from more than you. “What good
are you?” is standard people looking-down-the-nose
address to their inferiors. And I, and you,
have been called fruitless many times.

But wait – the story turns. Who is this gardener to save
the tree, to stimulate its fruit?

Who is this gardener, and will this gardener
soon come to nourish me?

A poem/prayer based on Luke 13:1-9, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year C, Third Sunday in Lent. 

The image is Le vigneron et le figuier, The Vine Dresser and the Fig Tree, by James Tissot (ca. 1886-1894) – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2008, 00.159.82_PS2.jpg, Public Domain,

2 thoughts on “Towers and Trees

  1. What an extraordinary ride you take us on. Wow. (I preach for the anniversary of the Indonesian church with which I church-shared for a decade … the annunciation passages worked better!) I considered myself freed, except now I am tempted… I do love Tissot.

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