Jesus spreads his protection over us
In the scripture, Jesus speaks of his disappointment and utter heart break because his own people refused to hear and heed the summons of God to draw near, and to return home: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Luke 13:33-34, NRSV)
Jesus’ understanding of God’s kingdom is God’s compassionate desire, and determination to gather all of God’s children into God’s loving arms. This is the center of Jesus’s mission and ministry. Just like a mother hen, God seeks to embrace, include, and welcome all of God’s children into the family of humanity. This has been God’s intention since the beginning of time.
Luke understood Jesus’ mission to raise up those beaten down, to bring those on the extremities of the social order close to the heart of God.
Jesus lamented over all those that turned away and were unwilling to accept his message and to rest under his protective wings. But for those who believed and answered the call of God and continued the mission of Jesus, we are loved and protected by God.
A farmer tells a story about the day that the hen house burned down on his grandpa’s place just down the road. Ike arrived just in time to help put out the last of the fire. As he and his grandfather sorted through the wreckage, they came upon one hen lying dead near what had been the door of the hen house. Her top feathers were singed brown by the fire’s heat, her neck limp. Ike bent down to pick up the dead hen. But as he did so, he felt movement. The hen’s four chicks came scurrying out from beneath her burnt body. The chicks survived because they were insulated by the shelter of the hen’s wings, protected and saved even as she died to protect and save them.
“How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings...”
Jesus calls you and me. He calls us to continue his work. Simply. Peacefully. Together. He calls us to the shelter of his protecting wings. He calls you and me to the safety of his arms stretched out for us on the cross. He calls us to trust him, no matter what our fears, hurts, or troubles; to trust that his outstretched arms are strong enough, his wings broad enough to keep us safe. And in the shadow of those wings we are saved.