Today's Lectionary Text
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
Good fruit. Thorny plants. The inner self. Great illustrations but sometimes some difficult concepts to grasp completely.
I confess that I often use Jiminy Cricket as one of my teaching tools when I engage with a confirmation class. At some point toward the middle of our class’s time together, questions arise about the Holy Spirit, asking Jesus into your heart and how you can tell if you have changed. The kids want to know how they can be good fruit!
Though I fully understand this is neither theologically sound nor profound, I have taken to using the scene where Jiminy Cricket explains to Pinocchio that this little bug is the boy’s conscience. While that’s not where we end our discussion — not even close — it is where we start it. I try to lead the kids in a discussion about right from wrong, their experiences with both good and bad consequences, and how a little voice speaks to us from time to time to help us feel the presence of God and, just maybe, how to tell right from wrong.
In 1 Kings 19, we learn that after the prophet Elijah killed the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, a frightened Elijah is seeking out God. Elijah finds God not in the wind, not in the earthquake and not in the fire. Instead, he found God in the form of a still, small voice.
We can hear the wind. We can feel the earthquake. We can feel, hear and smell the fire.
But, as I explain to the students, we have to be quiet to hear the still, small voice of God.
As we continue our Lenten journey, may we all find a little quiet time. May we all listen a little harder for God’s voice.
And as Pinocchio learned about what Jiminy Cricket had to say, may we put God’s wise counsel to use so we can be some of that good fruit.
— Todd Seifert, director of communications
Prayer for Reflection
Gracious God, help us to slow down and just be silent. Open our ears to hear and our minds to understanding of what you want from us as we serve you in the world today. Amen.
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