Valarie Englert, Senior Pastor
We have a fig tree in our back yard that is outdoing itself this summer – it is loaded with figs!
We pick them every day, and there are plenty to share with the birds and the squirrels; for making preserves; eating fresh; and bringing to the office for others to enjoy.
I’m pretty partial to this particular fig tree.
Several years ago, Rick and I prepared to put an addition on the back of our house. This required cutting down the fig tree to make way for the new construction. I shed tears as Rick cut it down to the ground.
Rick made other adjustments to the yard so that a pier-drilling truck could enter and do its work.
A week or two later in the wee hours of the morning, our daughter Eva appeared in the bedroom doorway. “Mom, Dad, there’s water all over the kitchen floor.”
We heard the noise before we reached the kitchen: rushing water splashing from our busted hot water heater.
As a result of that busted water heater, we decided to put the addition on hold and remodel the existing house.
As we shifted our focus and made new plans over the ensuing weeks, the roots of the fig tree began to send up shoots. And wonder of wonders! That little fig tree produced seven figs that summer.
This now big fig tree is a botanical reminder of God’s abundant grace; there is plenty for all.
Even during the winter, when the tree is bare, energy and sugars are stored in the roots, preparing for a new season of long days and warm sun, leaves and fruit.
The gift of figs never ceases to amaze me.
As one young friend reminded me, God’s abundant gifts are all around us, overflowing and ready to be shared.
When we share God’s gifts – whether they be figs or other signs of God’s love – that divine grace grows more and more in us.
There is a rippling, snowball effect: the more we allow our inner vision to “see” God’s grace around us, the more that grace takes hold in us, and the more we can be conduits of that grace.
This summer in worship, we have spent time considering the good news of God’s grace using the gifts offered to us through Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
As an ordained minister, Fred Rogers understood his call to be that of offering unconditional love and acceptance to young children and their families.
Mister Rogers spoke frequently about “growing:” not only growing up, but growing in character, in patience, and in understanding – both of ourselves and others.
Mister Rogers reminds us that we “grow” inside and out – just as trees grow, and grass, and flowers, and birds, and mammals.
God’s grace is not only the glue that holds us all together, but it is the medium and fuel for our growth into the ever-present, overflowing abundance of our ever-loving God-in-Christ.
May we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to accept the ever-present, abundant grace of God!