by Sarah Brock
AM Psalm 106:1-18 PM Psalm 106:19-48
Samuel 17:24-18:8; Acts 22:30-23:11;
This week I’ve continued a journey that I’ve been on most of my life: walking along the beach in New Jersey during my family’s annual vacation. As a kid, this walking was mostly about picking up stones with my grandpa. As I got older it turned into reconnecting and bonding with my parents or cousin or whoever decided to join me.
Jesus and his disciples are once again continuing on their journey. Walking between Bethany and Jerusalem, talking and bonding and collecting the dust of the road. This particular journey of Jesus and his disciples highlights two somewhat disconnected events. First, Jesus (apparently hangry from all that walking) curses a fig tree for not providing the sustenance promised by it’s leafy appearance. Though it was not yet the season for figs, the presence of leaves meant that the tree should have had the early buds, and possibly first fruits, that were edible. No such luck this time. Then, upon arriving at the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus begins flipping tables and chasing out those engaged in buying and selling. Upon leaving Jerusalem the group once again comes across the fig tree from earlier to find it withered.
The events of this trip may seem unnecessarily harsh and a little bit of an overreaction. Is Jesus acting out of his hunger and weariness? This is a very different journey than the triumphant entry into Jerusalem that comes at the beginning of this chapter in Mark.
Yet, as is often the case, this journey is once again about relationship; relationship to creation, relationship to one another, and relationship to God. We see the direct effect of Jesus’ curse on the tree. A broken relationship that leads to destruction. His actions in the temple are the direct effect of a broken relationship between the community and God. The witness of these things by the disciples has the direct effect of strengthening the relationship between Jesus and his closest followers; and their relationship to God. It leads to a moment of learning about faith, forgiveness, and prayer.
As you make your way along your own journey, pay attention to the relationships along the way. Your relationship to creation, to your fellow travelers, and to God. And, most definitely, don’t forget to bring snacks.
Sarah Brock is a Postulant for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Massachusetts and lives in Boston.
Image Credit: My Own