[Jesus replied] “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
He Will Cover You With His Wings
Patrick would have had good reason to curse the Irish. Born in Scotland, he was raised as a Christian but was not very serious about his faith. He was kidnapped at the age of sixteen and enslaved in Ireland. He did hard labor for six years and got much more serious about his faith. Finally, he escaped, made his way to the coast, got a job on a ship, and returned to Scotland.
But he could not get the Irish out of his mind. Something was compelling him to share Jesus, the one who had come to mean so much to him, with his former captors. After studying the Bible for nearly twenty years, he went back to Ireland a free man and never left. Despite opposition, he persevered and gathered the Irish into Christian congregations. We remember this remarkable man every March seventeenth when we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.
Jesus would have had good reason to curse the people of Jerusalem. He had come from heaven to save them, but many opposed him. Still, he longed to gather them together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. It’s a tender picture of love for people who did not deserve it.
It’s a tender picture of love for you and me. Jesus longs to gather us under his wings. He does not want to curse us. We ignore or oppose him at our own risk since salvation can come only from him. But he persevered, even to death, and he perseveres in gathering people into Christian congregations. Take refuge there.
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. Amen.