Holy Week began yesterday, with Jesus followers all around the globe re-membering ourselves to a story that is more than 2,000 years old. Yesterday, people waved palm branches to recall the triumphal entry of a different kind of King, into an adoring crowd that will soon turn on him.
Today, some traditions recall the strange story in the Gospel told by Mark of the fig tree, which was cursed and withered by the Lord. The withering of the fig tree was a miracle of special symbolism, since the tree had leaves, but no fruit.
This fig tree story is odd, peculiar, even a bit strange - on the face of it, it makes so sense, answers no questions. Mystery is often like this - a combination of huh and what the heck, introducing ncertainty at the very time we grope for clarity.
On this Fig Monday, I thank God for mystery and take joy in a poem by Denise Levertov (ht: the excellent Panhala):
A GiftJust when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm,
butterflies opening and closing themselves
in your cupped palms, trusting you not to injure
their scintillant fur, their dust.
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
this gift is your answer.~ Denise Levertov ~