Worship Reflection Sunday, March 13, 2022

Under God’s Wing

Luke 13:31-35

This week’s reading is tough, but has a hidden gem in it. So stay with me.

Jesus is aware that what he is preaching is dangerous to him because it is problematic for the rulers of Jerusalem. Dissent is always dangerous to some degree but it was especially dangerous in Jerusalem. We could dissect the history and the foreshadowing that Luke is using in this gospel, but there is something bigger at play here that we often miss and misunderstand. The image of the divine that Jesus invokes through Luke’s gospel would have been known, although underutilized in favor of more powerful images to explain the Holy One. The mother hen.

Imagery for God is just that. Imagery. It gets at the heart of who God is but it cannot communicate fully the notion of the divine. Metaphors have the same issue. Language has its limitations and communicating this understanding is often illusive, but we need to appreciate the many images and metaphors to get a fuller picture. Too often we focus on God as king and ruler and images like this one escape our notice.

The mother hen is fiercely protective and committed to her chicks. She will sacrifice her own safety for their protection, drawing the attention of predators away from the chicks to herself to keep them safe, or drawing them into her wings to cover and shield them.

“We all know, some by heart, the two great commandments: “we are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves.” In the context of the doctrine of the created world as the body of our mother–God, in which we all live and have our being, the commands take on a very different complexion. In this context it is impossible to consider loving God apart from loving the others (human and otherwise) that constitute the body of the world, and love toward the others, the agape love of creation, is a very basic love: the affirmation of existence. In an ecological, nuclear world, the “as ourselves” of the commandment is first of all the affirmation of existence for the others as we also, and most fundamentally, affirm it for ourselves. Loving others ‘as yourself’ means – whatever else it may also mean – willing for others the existence – the right to birth, nurture, and fulfillment – that one wills for oneself.”

she goes on…

In the picture of the mother–Creator, however, the goal is neither the condemnation nor the rescue of the guilty but the just ordering of the cosmic household in a fashion beneficial to all. God as mother-Creator is primarily involved, not in the negative business of judging wayward individuals, but in the positive business of creating, with our help, a just ecological economy for the well-being of all her creatures.”

Sallie McFague, Essay ‘The Ethic of God as Mother, Lover, and Friend’, found in ‘Feminist Theology: A Reader’, ed. Ann Loades p.255

We are called to join in that kind of action, that of creating a just ecological economy for the well being of the Whole of creation alongside the Holy One. Not the punishment and judgment of one another.  We are called by one who invites us under the wing. 

Come Rain or Shine

“I will keep on.”

That’s what I heard him say.

I will keep on

driving out demons

and healing people,

speaking the truth

and loving endlessly,

searching for the lost sheep

and crying for the brokenhearted,

feeding the hungry

and welcoming the outcast.

“I will keep on.”

That’s what he said, right

after he said my name, right

after he called me beloved, right

after he welcomed me home

and saved me a seat.

And I knew,

there was no stopping him.

I was under his wing.

Come rain or come shine,

today and tomorrow,

this love keeps on.

Written: rev. sarah speed | sanctifiedart.org

So, friends, how does this change us? How does it move us?

I pray we will keep on going with love that astounds us in ways that we cannot imagine, amen.