Mosaic depiction of baby birds on the altar of Trinity Church

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: Wings Spread, Heart Exposed

LUKE  13:31–35

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work.’ Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem. 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! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

In a striking woman-centered image of God, Luke’s Gospel invites us to contemplate Jesus as a mother hen, gathering her chicks under her wings in a loving, maternal, and open-hearted posture of mercy. But her children will not come home to her for shelter. And, by referring to Herod — an icon for the murderous powers of death — as a fox, this vulnerable hen, bereft and struggling with failure, declares that it will not run away. Jesus digs in, defiantly. He is resolved to move toward Herod and into Jerusalem for the completion of his saving work of healing and deliverance — his fiercely compassionate mission from God — despite all impending threats. Jesus must be on his way, now, even as he laments his certain rejection: Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills prophets.

Questions for reflection:

Does this caring, protective image of God confirm or expand your own image of God? Might it be a powerful image for our times? What does it say about the Christian call to radical vulnerability? What other images of God help you to understand God’s mercy and care, in this moment?

—Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones

Engaging commentary and a short list of takeaways from the makers of the “Strange New World” Bible podcast.

And reflections on conflict, in light of the juxtaposition of the “puzzling, purposeful, and poignant elements” of the passage, from Corrymeela Community.

If I asked you to draw a picture of Jesus, what would you draw? A blue-eyed shepherd holding a staff? A lion? (As in, Aslan of Narnia, or the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?) … What about a chicken? Would it occur to you to draw a chicken?”  

Prayer for Peace in Ukraine from the brothers in Taizé ends with, “You are our hope.”

“Under Your Wings” by Heather Schopf references Psalm 57:1–2: “In the shadow of your wings I will make my refuge.” These profound and steadying words have carried her through some tough times.

Mother Hen, a mosaic in the Church of Dominus Flevit, Jerusalem (shown with a reflection about feminine images of God).


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Coming Up

Tonight at 6:30pm, join Trinity Talks: Medical Debt and the Health of the Country for a discussion with the Rev. Phillip Jackson and Elisabeth Benjamin about how medical debt threatens the most vulnerable in society, causing many to delay medical care, declare bankruptcy and even lose their homes.

Where is God when we suffer? Sundays at 10am, join Discovery for a series exploring the book of Job and discuss how the story of one man who lost it all speaks to us today. This week, Summerlee Staten moderates a discussion with the Discovery community.

Mondays at 5:30pm, join Dr. Kathy Bozzuti-Jones for The River: Poetry and Practice as she leads mindfulness practice, reflects on a contemporary poem, shares how poetry can be used on your spiritual journey, and provides questions for ongoing reflection.