I will sing to my Beloved a song of his vineyard. My Love had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
He plowed the land and cleared it, and planted good vines;
he built a tower and a winepress for the harvest that would come.
But when he gathered the grapes, they weren’t sweet but sour.
Though he’d tended the vines well, they bore wild fruit.
Judge, men of Israel, between my Love and his vineyard!
What more could the Keeper of the Vineyard have done?
“I knew a man once,” says Jesus after he rolls up the scroll and sits down, “who tended a fig tree for his father. For three years, the father waited to taste the tree’s fruit, but for three years it produced nothing. ‘Why are we still waiting?’ said the father of the man I knew, ‘The soil is good: if this tree gives us nothing, why don’t we cut it down?’ But the man asked his father for one more year. ‘Let me care for it a little longer,’ he said. ‘If it bears fruit, we’ll rejoice together. If not, we’ll cut it down.’”
Jesus stops there and closes his eyes. It’s silent in the assembly for a moment.
“What happened to the tree?” says someone from the back.
Jesus opens his eyes. “I don’t know,” he says. “Before the year was up, some of the father’s servants killed his son.”