February 21, 2013 #615

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! Luke 13:34 (NRSV)

Since my trip to Germany last November I have been doing a lot or reading about Martin Luther and the time he lived. Luther and many others, who lived at that time, viewed God as an angry judge, someone to be afraid of. Because of that view many Christians turned to Mary the mother of DEV_02-21-13Jesus and some of the saints for help in times of trouble. Luther, when he was caught in a thunderstorm, cried out not to God but to St. Anne, the patron saint of miners. Thankfully, Luther was able to rediscover a loving God and began to emphasize the message of God’s grace rather than God’s judgment. A new more feminine understanding of God began to emerge in the last half of the twentieth century when female biblical scholars began to examine some of the female characteristic for God. One of those is Jesus comparing himself to a hen that gathers her brood under her wings. I don’t think a more comforting, protective image of God can be found in scripture. Those of us who grew up on a farm know how protective a mother can become if she senses her offspring is in danger. When a mother chicken senses danger she will let out a loud clucking sound and with that her chickens will run and climb under her wings. I found great comfort in this image knowing that after my ski accident and cancer treatment Jesus was holding me close and protecting me. Take time this week to reflect on the times you have found protections under God’s wings. Are you facing a time of difficulty in your life? Then may your prayer be “Oh, let me nestle near thee, within thy downy breast where I will find sweet comfort and peace within thy nest. Oh, close thy wings around me and keep me safely there, for I am but a newborn and need thy tender care.” (2nd verse written by Gracia Grindal from hymn “Thy Holy Wings”)