BY REV. CORY KEMP |
Note: Originally written April 5th, 2022
My friend, Liz, keeps chickens in the back yard behind her house.
These ladies are laying hens only and are allowed to live out their lives to their natural conclusion. She is generous in sharing the eggs she collects from her brood each year, and I’ve often said that they taste better than store-bought eggs because the chickens aren’t living under threat of death.
Well, apparently, there is more to the story.
Liz recently told me she likes to spoil them, giving them good chicken feed, of course, but also some crackers, lettuce and vegetables that don’t have too strong of flavors that may be absorbed into the eggs.
She also spoils them with loving attention, visiting with them, sharing about her day and listening to what they have to say about theirs. As she pointed out, “Chickens are smarter than you think.” I believe her. Her delight in these creatures shows on her face and in her voice.
And she helped me remember that God is ready and willing to love us, maybe even spoil us a little bit, too, if we are willing.
Tomorrow, we come back to Palm Sunday. We come back to celebrating Jesus’ triumphant reentry into Jerusalem after three years of itinerant ministry. And we come back after two years apart since we last met in person to sing the Hosannas, to pray the Liturgy for Palm Sunday, and, as the week progresses, share in the Holy Week Readings that hold so many familiar parables, stories and confrontations between Jesus and the religious leaders of his time.
In coming back, we are also privy to some of Jesus’ personal thoughts, reflections, and, as the authorities close in on him, his deepest fears. His humanity is on full display in ways we know for ourselves, and in his love for those he has served.
One of those moments is shared in Matthew 23:37 in Jesus’ lament over the city in which he stands. “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!”
He clearly has no illusions about how people in his line of work have been treated over the centuries, but he also knows what being human is all about. We often behave very badly toward each other. But God still wants to gather us in, love us, because we are Hers. If only we could allow ourselves to be gathered in under Her wings, we would know that and be transformed.
As we stand on the edge of the city limits, about to join Jesus in reentering Jerusalem once again, my hope is that we remember what it has been like these last two years without the immediacy of Holy Week in our traditional practices and what a gift it is to come together again in these familiar ways.
I also hope that Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem becomes our own lament over how we treat each other, and how we may each personally shift that in some way to be better, and to do better by each other.
May we be willing to be gathered in under God’s wing, to be loved, and maybe even spoiled with something unexpected and delightful. We are more loved than we think.
About the author
The Rev. Cory L. Kemp is founder and faith mentor with Broad Plains Faith Coaching. Cory, employing her signature Handcrafted Faith program, supports ordained and lay women leaders in visualizing, understanding and strengthening their beliefs, so that they may know, love and serve God and their communities with generosity, wisdom, and joy.
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