How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” What a tender and helpless image! What a soulful lament. God understands the depth of our yearning and sorrow.
Jesus’ heart is broken. It has been broken by persons’ inability to understand the depth of his love for them. Their hearts are hardened and their minds are made up. They cling tenaciously to their false beliefs about God and to their flawed and destructive notions of security and power. In their ignorance, they reject the one who longs to care for them. For one who comes as love and lives as love and will die for love, this reality is cause for deep sorrow.
Jesus’ lament is perceptible in our time. We who were created out of love and for love seem unable or unwilling to embrace Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. We can witness the evidence of our inability to accept love everywhere: in our judgment and scapegoating of others, in our rigid notions of right and wrong, in the ways we execute justice, in our rejection of those whom God loves, in our presumption of superiority over the earth and other living things, and in our insistence that our group, race, or religion possesses the whole truth. Our rejection of love and mercy breaks God’s heart. Yet God, like the hen who would gather her brood under her wings, longs to gather us together in safety and love. And so Jesus continues his journey toward Jerusalem and his journey toward us.
O God, who came as love in Jesus, continue to pursue us with your unstoppable love and mercy until we finally allow you to enfold us beneath your wings. Amen.
This week’s readings give witness to the ways of God and provide confidence and hope in our faith. In Genesis we read of God’s promise to Abram, a promise that seems very unlikely to a man with no children. But God seals the covenant, and the story later shows that God never breaks God’s promises. The psalmist even while mired in conflict praises God for being his light, his salvation, his stronghold. The psalmist longs to be in God’s presence forever, a desire that can inspire all of us as believers. Paul says that in the future reality, we will no longer experience resistance from those who oppose God. One day Christ will fully transform us to our citizenship in heaven. Jesus himself experienced resistance even in Jerusalem, yet he ultimately triumphs, as will all those who trust in God.
Read Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18. How can you take a step forward in the dark toward God’s seemingly impossible promises for the future?
Read Psalm 27. Recall a time when you waited in the shadows of your life. What did you learn about God’s provision during this time?
Read Philippians 3:17–4:1. How do you live in the paradox of standing firm in faith by being vulnerable?
Read Luke 13:31-35. When have you been unwilling to accept love? How can you comprehend the depth and yearning of God’s love for you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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