Fox in the Henhouse

Friday, November 7, 2014 – Proper 26, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 69:1-23(24-30)31-38 (morning) // 73 (evening)

Ecclesiasticus 50:1, 11-24

Revelation 17:1-18

Luke 13:31-35

The tension in today’s gospel comes from a conflict between Herod and Jesus. They don’t square off face-to-face, however. Rather, some Pharisees tell Jesus to get out of town, because Herod wants to kill him. Jesus sends these Pharisees straight to Herod with a message: “Go and tell that fox . . .” To Jesus, Herod is like a cunning and sly hunter.

But Jesus doesn’t try to fight or outsmart the foxes of this world. Instead, he describes himself as a mother hen who longs to shelter her precious chicks: “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!” Jesus offers the protection of soft wings, of maternal care, of his own body, against the foxes that stalk us.

For our part, we don’t need to be speedier, sneakier, smarter, or stronger than the fox. We need to let ourselves be loved, protected, and cared for. For some of us, it’s harder to let ourselves be loved and cared for than it is to try making ourselves more independent and fierce.

Today, will we overcome our unwillingness to take shelter under God’s loving care? When we resist the sources of loving care in our lives, and when we reject the messengers of God’s love and justice, we leave ourselves exposed to predators. I hope we can find sacred moments today to nestle into the warmth of God’s wings.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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