Second Sunday in Lent February 21, 2016
Under his wings
One of the few periodicals my Wisconsin farmer grandparents subscribed to was Outdoor Life, the sportsmen’s magazine. I pored over those pictures and stories as a child, learning more about nature and wildlife beyond the farm.
I learned that the prairie chicken, a wild bird of the American grasslands, is fiercely protective of its young. The hen will fake an injury to lead a predator away from the nest. After the chicks are hatched, the hen will gather her chicks under her wings to protect them, even from fast-moving prairie fires, even at the cost of her own life. Although she can outfly the flames, her chicks cannot, so she stays and dies sheltering them.
Jesus invokes this maternal image when he wishes he could shelter all of Jerusalem from harm, “as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing” (Luke 13:34).
I live in tinder-dry California now, where fire is an ever present danger. The image of Jesus, not as a domesticated bird, but as a fiercely protective wild hen, sacrificing self to protect her chicks, is one I find comforting.
Where do you go to find shelter from the firestorms of your life? Jesus still desires to protect us from that which can harm us. Let’s run to him.
“Under his wings, under his wings, who from his love
Under his wings my soul shall abide, safely abide forever.”
Vicki Jens-Page, pastor, Morongo Moravian Church, Banning, California