My high school mascot was the “Seahawk,” and we took great pride that the rendering of this particular bird was much fiercer looking than that of Seattle’s NFL team. As far as we were concerned, it was right up there with Eagles, Falcons, and all the other Hawks around as the strongest, toughest of birds. Both our football team and our marching band imagined ourselves to be birds of prey, swooping in on the competition, snatching victory and then soaring away.
Jesus, though, speaks of himself as a mother hen, who protects her brood by gathering them into safety beneath her wings. While this image may seem contrary to so much of what our society promotes as fierce and tough, this probably rings a bell for many of us. Whether imagined as a mother hen or a mama bear, many of us know what it’s like to have a mother figure who is simultaneously caring and protective of her own. In Jesus, God offers caring protection, enfolding us in safety within this broken world.
Let us pray. Strong Mother God, gather us close to you. Protect us beneath your outstretched wings, and save us from all that would do us harm. Amen.