By Elizabeth Prata
I was cutting up a nectarine that had been sitting in my fruit bowl for many days. “Surely it will be ripe by now” I thought.
I began chopping it into chunks to add to my oatmeal, and it was still hard and unripe. Gah! Other times when I think the piece of fruit is ripe, it’s dried out and mummy-like inside.
It’s not that I can’t tell when a piece of fruit is ripe, I can. It’s that the declining quality of the fruits makes it hard to determine if this one is juicy or this one is always going to remain a rock. Lately at the grocery store, choosing fruit has been like Fruit Roulette.
I remember my friend and I driving in the Tuscan countryside (yes, really) and we got behind a small tractor pulling a trailer of artichokes. The road was bumpy and occasionally an artichoke tumbled out and bounced on the pavement in front of us. We laughed and started saying, ‘Did you think I fell off the artichoke truck yesterday?’ changing the idiom from ‘the turnip truck’.
Here he is after turning down the driveway to a farm:
In New England, where I used to live, fall meant apples, cider, vivid foliage,and pumpkins. I lived near a pumpkin farm. Imagine pulling up pounds and pounds and tons of pumpkins and loading each one onto the wagon. Oof, hard labor for sure. Here’s the wagon, so colorfully enticing for buyers looking for a pumpkin to make that perfect jack-o-lantern-
I live in a farming community now and the farmer’s markets are filled with abundance, like this watermelon farmer’s truck.
I think of the passages that promise abundance during the 1000 reign of Christ.
Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:4)
In that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree. (Zechariah 3:10)
If the earth is so beautiful now, (under its curse), and there is abundance rising from it (with toil and sweat, yes), then how beautiful will the coming kingdom be? How will it feel to sit in the sun and have a conversation with a beloved member of the redeemed body, and not worry about where your pickpockets and thieves? Not fear assault? No mass shootings?
What will these figs and their foods taste like? Heavenly, literally. My fruit on the plate will be ripe, beautiful, perfect. No more disappointments cutting into a piece of fruit only to find it withered or hard or juiceless.
I know we praise Jesus for the big things, like redemption, grace, propitiation, etc. But I also look forward to the peace and tranquility the coming kingdom will afford His people, and its fruits.