I thought it was the perfect allegory to be reading during our social distancing time. I’m sure God planned it this way. He knew the pandemic was coming, and He knows that the allegory of the olive tree has answers for us during this challenging time.
Here is what I gleaned:
I watched the video above, from Book of Mormon Central’s YouTube channel.
I learned from Professor Tyler in the video that the Lord of the vineyard, Jesus, doesn’t just do pruning, digging, and dunging actions to all of the House of Israel. All those actions happen to each of us on an individual basis as well.
Here is what I perceive each action symbolizing:
- pruning = cutting or taking something away and out of our life, such as the death of a loved one, loss of money or job, loss of friends, loss of anything held precious by us
- digging = stirring things up so that our spiritual and/or physical food is not the same way as it used to be. This could be all the things above, plus things like moving, new neighbors, change in boundaries of your ward (church congregation), change in the arrangement of anything you are used to. Like having to be quarantined. Also change in having to do anything.
- dunging = something in our life that seems bad, offensive, and smelly, like dung, but it’s really fertilizer. In other words, it has the potential to create new growth in our life of something even bigger and better than we ever dreamed of. This could be a new phase in life, unkindness directed toward you, any bad thing like an accident or loss as above, but also any trial.
These three things of pruning, digging and dunging are all “tests, traps, and trials” that happen on each of our Hero’s Journey/ Covenant Path. Each one of them can be a test, trap or trial or a combination of two or all three. God, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, allow each of these actions to happen on each of us to benefit us. It’s so interesting that vs says that all those things the Lord of the vineyard did were to “preserve” the tree. Likewise, all the pruning, digging, and dunging that God sends our way is to preserve us. True, some pruning, digging, and dunging comes through our own choices or through other’s choices as well. We can all turn it to good if we turn to God through the choices.
My family is going through something right now, which started way before the pandemic, that seems like dung. It’s a huge trial. I’m holding on to all the hope in God I can muster that this seemingly bad thing has all the makings of a huge great blessing in my life. Then we have the pandemic, a new trial, on top of that trial. I trust in God that He knows the end from the beginning, and that despite all the bad things involved in this pandemic (death, suffering, money loss, jobs lost) new wonderful blessings will emerge, bigger and better than we ever dreamed.