Title: Fig Trees and Fertilizer
Author: Sage SK
Date Started: 10/24/2012
Date Finished: 10/24/2012

Comments: Based on an actual sermon from one of the priests in my church, word for word, even! Also, please note that interpretations of The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9) vary.

Father Shiro Fujimoto eyed the packed church gently. His sermon had to be rewritten at the last minute, considering he had gotten several requests for guidance. Guidance and asking for forgiveness, most of them heard via confession. But, he found himself repeating the same words of wisdom over and over, and it was getting rather redundant.

So, after mentioning his changes to Nagatomo, who'd be reading the gospel for the day, Shiro decided to go back to one particular parable, hoping that it'd open the eyes of his congregation, if only for a few minutes. The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree was usually reserved for when people felt at their lowest, when they felt helpless, and today was as good a time as any.

"There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, 'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. Cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?' The gardener said to him in reply, 'Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'"

He looked around. Good, he still had their attention. Behind him, Nagatomo sat quietly.

"Several of you this week have asked me for guidance, because you're all going through rough times. It's interesting that the parable I just mentioned is open-ended, because we don't know what happens, do we? Does the tree bear fruit after the care the gardener puts into it, or does it stubbornly stay barren? I would say it's up to us to find out."

He smiled softly. In the front row, his two adoptive sons sat listening, their blue eyes wide with curiosity. In a sense, this was a parable they both needed to hear, each for different reasons. Rin's eyes then gazed down at the floor in thought while Yukio's watched their father.

"Consider yourselves the fig tree and God the gardener. The fertilizer is the crap we put up with."

The silence was almost deafening after that. No one dared to breathe a word save for a few soft gasps from his elderly churchgoers and, much to his chagrin, a rather loud snort emitting from his eldest son. Beside a snickering Rin, a mortified Yukio sat with cold shock.

Surely they hadn't heard right - did the Father just use the word "crap" in the middle of his sermon?

With a long sigh, Shiro turned to his cleric. "Remember this when you're a priest."

And, Nagatomo could only laugh out loud.