Luke 13:31-35 (NRSV)
Verse 31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." Verse 32He 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. Verse 33Yet 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.' Verse 34Jerusalem, 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! Verse 35See, 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.'"
What does it feel like when grace goes unrecognized? Jesus' lament over Jerusalem reveals anguish. Most arresting is his comparison of himself to a protective hen, urging chicks to rest secure under her wings. The Savior approaches Jerusalem as a mother, intent on guaranteeing the safety of her children, whom she has known and devoted herself to since before they took their first breaths. What kind of people turn away mothers of vulnerable youngsters? What kind of people sneer at those who devote themselves to helping the powerless? What kind of people string up and mock a mother who has come to nourish and provide for those who need her? The Gospel of Luke and the witness of history answer: We do. God help us all. God had better be merciful. God had also better be fierce in commitment to pursue us and drag us under those healing wings.
Persistent and long-suffering God, forgive us. We are ignorant, violent, and resistant. We inflict harm on others, harming you. We suffer harm from others, making it difficult to receive your love. Pursue us. Overtake us. Remake us. Amen.