A chicken? Seriously? Reflections 2-17-16

 Texts for Sunday, February 21, 2016

 Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

 Psalm 27
 Philippians 3:17-4:1
 Luke 13:31-35

 I really don’t like chickens. I grew up on a farm and had one too many run-ins with nasty chickens when collecting eggs.  For awhile, I was also tormented by a rooster whose head was on crooked (really); he regularly ran me out of the coop (screaming as I went).  Also, the saying “running around like a chicken without its head” is true. The headless body runs around the yard; without a head it can’t see you standing in the way. Splat. I really don't like chickens.

Note for the chicken lovers among us: yes, the chicks are cute…until they become chickens.

Why am I sharing this fascinating look back to my childhood? Jesus talks about a hen and her chicks in verse 34 of today’s Gospel. People point to it as a glorious image of the feminine side of God….a tough hen who will protect her chicks to the end. I am all for feminine images of God like Lady Wisdom, or the nursing mother. But I just cannot embrace the chicken image; I hold it at arm’s length, upside down, holding on to the legs….

Another note: I read several commentaries on this passage. Although I really don’t like chickens, I must say that I was disgusted by the graphic descriptions of a mother hen’s destruction as she protected her chicks from predators or fire. Poor thing.

Ok. I know that really isn't the point of the passage. I will put that aside. 

Firstly, the Pharisees warn Jesus not to go to Jerusalem. Do they actually care or are they trying to keep him away? So often they seem to be scheming against Jesus. I'm not sure that is so here.

Secondly, Jesus totally brushes off the threat from Herod, refusing to acknowledge the political power of that fox. Jesus has things to do now and will not be distracted from his ministry. Today and tomorrow he will heal and cast out demons.  Jerusalem is down the road. His schedule is controlled by the things of God not of some pseudo-king.

What distracts you from doing what you need to do “in the meantime”? What can help you to stay focused? In what ways do we still “kill and stone” prophets sent from God?

Thirdly, Jesus laments Jerusalem. You can feel his heart ache. I think Jesus feels his “fully divine” side here as he remembers all the past disappointments through history. His people, their social systems, and the religious establishment have resisted God’s way over and over again.

What is it that Jesus longs to do with and for them? Why do you think God kept trying throughout their history? What systems and establishments today are resistant to God’s invitation?  How would God have us respond?

On Palm Sunday we will join his disciples in saying “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord”.

Check out the G.I.F.T. post for this Sunday, February 21, for more ways to reflect on these texts.

I'd love to hear your thoughts - on chickens - or the text. 
Please use the comment section below (all the way down past the related posts).

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

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Iowa City, IA 52245