Lament For Us – 2nd Sunday in Lent 2010

Written by Joel on March 5th, 2010

Feb 28, 2010
2nd Sunday in Lent
Luke 13:31-35

The following is not a transcript, but here are my notes I used to prepare for this message.

We know all about The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, but have you ever thought of Jesus as a mother figure? That is the image Jesus chooses for himself for the relationship between himself and his people: Just like a mother hen loves, cares, and protects her chicks, so I am there for you. In many ways this analogy fits Jesus so very well. We read in scripture about how we have been made new in Christ, the Gospel of John says “we have been born again.” Jesus provides for our nourishment – he fed the 5000, and continues to fed us at his table – some folks might suggest that providing the food is a very motherly quality. But here, Jesus’ strength and tenacity are highlighted and compared to how a mother instinctively rushes to action when she senses that her children are in danger. Christ’s identification as a mother is by no means a sign of weakness.

Herod is that fox which threatens the hen and the chicks, which Jesus longs to protect. Jesus is warned by the pharisees that Herod is out to get him, and this is no empty threat. Remember this is the Herod which beheaded John the Baptist. Rumors are flying around that this Jesus character is John’s re-incarnation – giving Herod every reason to kill Jesus. Yet Jesus replies to the threat “Ha! Herod? Tell that fox that he has no power over me; he couldn’t hurt me if he tried.”

But, Herod is not the threat in this passage – it is the chicks themselves, Christ’s children, Jerusalem…Us. I can’t help but think of this passage as quite the guilt trip (I have a mother too you know). “Herod’s a fox, but you should see my kids. I treat them so well, like a mother hen, given of myself to protect them. And how do they repay me? The run off, reject their own mother! They don’t know how to do anything else – their killing their own mother and don’t even know it!” You, know some guilt trips aren’t just made up.

We are Christ’s children. And Christ laments when his children have rejected him. Just like a mother who watches her children stray – correcting the children when they are not polite to strangers, making them share with siblings, or has the grow older, getting into sex, drugs, drinking; it hurts not only them but their parents as they watch their children stray.

So it is in our relationship with Christ. Our sin does not hurt us alone, our sin is not a private matter, our sin hurts. It hurst us individually, us as a church, our relationship with God, and hurts God himself – much as a mother is pained at seeing her children stray. But like a good mother, Christ’s love endures. He is well aware the Jerusalem is the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it, it is the city that rejects him. And yet, where does Jesus go? On the third day he will complete his work – when he rises from the dead; Today, tomorrow, and the next day he will be on his way; on his way to Jerusalem, on his way to the cross.

There was a barn fire some years ago. Burned the barn to the ground, nothing was saved. The next day the farmer was walking the ground where the barn once stood in order to asses the damage. As he was poking through the charred wood and burnt hay, he found a clump of burnt feathers on the ground. The farmer was somewhat startled at the sight and pushed it over with his foot. When he did, three tiny chicks scurried out from under their dead mother’s wings. The mother hen, aware of the fire, carried her young to as safe a place she could find and held her chicks under her wing. She could have tried to get out and save her self, but she refused to abandon her babies. As the fire consumed the barn, it burned the mother hen’s body; but she remained. She had been willing to die so that those under her wing would live.

Christ closes by saying you will not [understand these things] until the time comes when you say Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” You will not understand this until you say these words. That time is coming and we remember it on Palm Sunday when Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem. He is welcomed as a king when people shout in the streets repeat psalm 118 “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” But they do not fully understand Christ until they see Jesus in Jerusalem on his cross. How will we greet Jesus when he comes again. Will we be able to say confidently “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord?” or will we say “be gone from me for I am a sinful person!” The good news of Jesus Christ is that whatever our answer – he loves us as a mother hen loves her chicks. Lamenting for our sins, saddened by our rejection, but willing to die for his love for us.


 

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