Wednesday of the 7th Sunday after Trinity – Luke 13:22-35

| July 21, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Hen Gathering ChicksLuke 13:22-35

There will be many other occasions to hear Jesus talk about how we must enter into the narrow gate and about the sin of hypocrisy, two themes that Jesus addresses this morning.

What draws me like a magnet this morning instead is how Jesus responds to our choosing to take the broad way, the way of hypocrisy and rebellion against Him.  On Judgment Day, there will indeed be weeping and gnashing of teeth, just as Jesus says.  And yet what appears to me this morning like a blinding sun is the compassion that is always Jesus’ property to have.

Jesus cries out “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!”  We might imagine that Jesus will then continue in His previous vein and add something like “But woe to you, for it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day than for you!”

Instead, He says that He wants nothing more than to gather evil, unfaithful people in His arms!  This Jesus, who bore the cross and has now resurrected from the dead and who will judge both the quick and the dead – this same Jesus wants to gather us in His arms and protect and save us.  He is like a mother hen trying to gather her children under her wings.

But just as my glee in Jesus’ image and His love is hatched, it is snatched away from me by the haunting words “but you were not willing!”  “You were not willing.”  Jesus offered to Jerusalem the only means of salvation, and Jerusalem who killed the prophets also crucified the Lord and the Christ.

Here is some more startling news: we are Jerusalem.  Jesus still desires to gather His children under His wings, but much too often we are not willing.

I understand how Jesus feels.  As a father, how often have I desired to step in and protect and save my little children.  When I see one lying to me or another, or hurting by words or hands, how often have I wanted to reach out my arms, gather my children, and bless them with love, joy, and peace.  And too often they are unwilling (praise God that often they are willing!)

We are those baby chicks.  We are the ones He desires to gather and protect.  We are the ones who have wandered off, far from the salvation of our Lord.

We don’t wander off all at once, mind you.  No, we make our mad little forays into evil, just to see what will happen.  Finding no resistance, we are emboldened, and we take our experiment a little further, until . . . .  Until what?  Until we are seriously injured?  Until we have wandered completely out of sight of our Lord?

Some of us are more timid and wander as daydreamers.  Not paying attention to our Lord each day, we wander simply because we are not looking at Him.

In either case, we wander out of view – not that He can’t see us, but that we can’t see Him.  And Jesus warns us as His children in v. 35: “Assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

We wander, no longer seeing Him, and He says “And you will continue not seeing me until you come back to me and honor Me.”

We have all wandered, and we will all continue to wander.  What separates a faithful disciple from an unfaithful one is that the faithful ones keep coming back –  quickly, frequently, and fervently.  And when we do, Jesus is already there, ready to gather us again under His almighty wings.

Point for Meditation:

In what ways is God telling you that you’ve wandered?  When you hear God’s reminders that you have wandered, how do you usually respond? 

Resolution/ Prayer:  Jesus, I thank you for your all-embracing love and protection.  I resolve to return to You today from my wanderings: whether wandering from Your voice and Word, as You come to me in the Bible or prayer, or wandering from that moment by moment presence with You, or wandering in relationships and habits that You intend to be lived in love.  In whatever way You are most urgently calling me, I vow to return to You this day and draw near enough to see You again.

© 2015 Fr. Charles Erlandson

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Category: Give Us This Day

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