By Larry McGuire of Nuneaton, Warrickshire, England
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” “…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.’” —Luke 13:31, 34–35 NRSV
Luke begins his testimony of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem with a touching scene of determination tempered with compassion. Many lives would be touched by events that follow this moment of Jesus overlooking his beloved city, but now, he weeps. For many days Jesus had been on a resolute journey toward the city of Jerusalem. Perhaps as the city came into view, the future did as well, so Jesus paused to reflect on the unfolding future of his followers and people. The tears of Jesus were not just tears of anguish, but also tears of a desire for peace.
Those who normally challenge Jesus now forewarn him of Herod’s intent to harm him. Jesus replies with a defiant message that clearly communicates he won’t back down from his mission. Even as he remains focused on his mission to heal, restore, and set people free, the attitudes, opinions, or threats from others do not bother Jesus. Amid his journey, he continues to show compassion even to those who would reject him.
Recently, my father shared with me that he looked out his bedroom window and saw a flock of wild turkeys making their way across the field. The flock included a mother hen and her chicks. She was carefully watching her brood while trying to eat as they moved around her. The sky was darkening as a storm moved in, and she tried to get her chicks to move closer. As the rain began to fall, and the wind stirred across the field, the mother spread her wings and pulled all her chicks close to her, covering them. Then she settled in until the storm passed.
This mother hen gathered her vulnerable chicks under her wings and provided shelter for them throughout the storm. Jesus longs to gather the people of the great city of Jerusalem and provide shelter for the disciples who don’t always recognize Jesus and his mission. Storms will gather and threaten us in many forms, but God continues to extend compassion and shelter to all.
Prayer for Peace
Protector God, gather us into your sheltering love and teach us compassion. Give us determination to fulfill Christ’s mission of peace.
Spiritual Practice: Experience Congregations in Mission
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–d. Reread the sentence, “If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.” List the issues you feel mattered most to Christ. Then list issues that matter to your congregation. Reflect on the similarities and differences. How can you help align the lists? Throughout the day, as issues arise, ask yourself, “Would this matter to Christ?”
Today, God, I will temper my determination with compassion.