By Jon Wren
Momma is often the first word an infant learns. Not only is it simple to say, but the relationship with momma is typically the first a baby understands and appreciates. Ideally, among a child’s first lessons is that their mother is always there to love, care for, and protect them.
Throughout the Bible, God is often referred to as Father. As believers, we often pray to God as our Heavenly Father. Jesus referred to God as his Father throughout his life and ministry. But Jesus said something in Luke 13 that surely caught the attention of his audience. In a moment of high emotion, while standing outside the city of Jerusalem surrounded by his followers, Jesus shouted, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Luke 13:34).
Now, it wouldn’t have surprised his followers to hear Jesus lament the stubbornness of the city’s leaders and the religious establishment. And it wouldn’t have surprised them to hear Jesus say that despite their resistance, he still wanted to care for them. But that metaphor, “as a hen gathers her chicks,” would have gotten their attention. Jesus clearly was saying that just as a mother wants to protect and care for her children, he wanted to protect and care for his people. Jesus wanted his followers to know he cared for people with the same fierce and protective instincts as mothers have for their children.
As Christ followers, when we take Communion, we remember the selfless sacrifice Jesus made for us at the cross. The bread and cup remind us of his crucified body and shed blood on our behalf. But during the Lord’s Supper, we also can reflect on how Christ’s fierce, protective, and passionate love for us is not unlike a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. Today let’s celebrate the incredible love and care that Christ has for us and for all his people!
Jon Wren works with the Office of Civil Rights, addressing the impact of gentrification on school desegregation. He loves history, college football, and once got a ticket for driving too slowly.