This Lent, we are exploring what must be cultivated within ourselves to further God’s work through us. We are also contemplating letting go of things that may be hindering our positive influence in the world. Please join us as we use imagery, reflections and poetry to dig deeper each week.
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31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34 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! 35 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.’ ”
by Lauren Wright Pittman
Inspired by Luke 13:31-35
The image of Christ as a mother hen is revolutionary. Instead of using a hypermasculine, militaristic, menacing image in response to Herod’s death threats, Jesus upends the expected posture of violence and chooses to identify with the nurturing, protective, feminine image of a mother hen. He explains his love for Jerusalem as a mother hen who desperately desires to lovingly shelter her young. This image drips of rejection, however, because the chicks are unwilling to be protected. In Jesus’ attempt to love the world he meets unwillingness, distrust, mockery, and violence.
Jesus’ use of this simile is wonderfully subversive because at first it seems like a harmless, warm, and fuzzy kind of reference—a cuddly, plump mother hen wanting to snuggle her young—but mother hens will protect their young at all cost. A mother hen will put her whole body on the line to keep her chicks safe; if danger nears, she will meet it head on, striking with her beak, with claws raised high.
Jesus wants that fox (Herod) to know that death threats will not keep him from fiercely bringing healing and restoration to the world.
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