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Why ‘FigTree’?

Biblically, the fig tree is a symbol of peace, security and  prosperity with Micah’s vision of ‘everyone beneath their  own vine and fig tree’ perhaps being the best known example.  However, in Mark’s gospel, just before he overturns the  tables, Jesus curses a fig tree for not being fruitful. Immediately after the Temple action the disciples discover the fig tree withered as Jesus urges his followers to have faith in God, faith that will ‘move mountains’.

Ched Myer’s in his wonderful study of Mark’s gospel, argues that Jesus is challenging here – in word and deed – the idea  that peace, security and prosperity comes from the power of  the (temple) state or Roman legions. That fig tree is barren.  Today, as a nation, we continue to put our faith in the ‘might  is right’ model, believing that peace and security is achieved by military means.  Jesus calls us to a different way – the way  of justice, community and love – and promises us that this ‘fig tree’ will bear real fruit.

Today, we need to turn away from the model of peace and security that is based on militarism and self-interest in favour of a model of human security that puts people – and especially the poor – at its centre. This huge change demands real faith. As Myers puts it, the “faith that entails political imagination and the ability to envision a world that is not dominated by the powers”.


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