Call to worship

Lent is all about redirecting our lives. The barren fig tree Gets added nourishment and a second chance to bear fruit. The same is true for each of us. God patiently waits and nourishes us always to be more life-giving.

  • To the point: The owner of the fig tree only cares about whether the tree bears fruit — he has no regard for the tree and its life. The gardener, on the other hand, cares about the fig tree, sees the life still there and wants to give it every chance (“I shall cultivate … and fertilize it”) to produce. He knows that as long as there’s life, there’s potential to bear fruit. What wastes away life within us and prevents us from bearing fruit is sin. Repentance, then, means choosing to nurture new life and all the fullness it can bring.
  • Connecting the Gospel (Luke 13: 1-9) to the second reading: Paul, like Jesus, offers examples from Israel’s history as a “warning to us” not to stray from God’s guidance. God offered every means for coming to new life to the people of Israel — including the burning bush through which Moses heard God’s words of compassion. So, too, Jesus offers us every means for coming to new and fruitful life – (“I shall cultivate the ground … and fertilize it.”)
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: Growing up takes hard work. Getting ahead in life takes hard work. Deepening our relationship with God and others takes hard work. It is no surprise, then, that repenting takes hard work. The discipline of Lent includes this kind of “hard work repentance” which leads to the new life Easter promises.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Luke 13: 1-9)

There was once a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard …

Jesus, kind and patient gardener of souls:
when we are barren like your fig tree,
(with unjust war, racial bias, destruction of our climate) 
you don’t give up on us.
Please, soak our roots. Make them heavy with your love.
And, pour your grace upon us like water
on parched land until we bear fruit.

The First Reading

(Exodus 3: 1-8a, 13-15)

God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.”

God of our fathers, you have beckoned us,
and have never pushed us away.
Our lands could flow with milk and honey!
Chance upon chance you give us,
grace upon grace. And then you gently stand by,
awaiting our words. “Here I am!”
Help us to taste your saving love
and come running to you
on this holy ground.

The Second Reading

(I Corinthians 10: 1-6, 10-12)

The life of the people with Moses in the desert
was written down as a warning to us.

Holy Spirit, give us just one more span of days.
Yes, please stretch open our hearts in them.
Let your patient grace come to life in us.

Copyright © 2022, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection