Luke 13:1-9, 31-35
He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me…”
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!
We all know the expression, “Like a fox guarding the henhouse.” When my family built our chicken coop, we had to think about critters that might try to harm our hens. Some of the local chicken hunters include skunks,
raccoons, coyotes, and foxes. So when we built our coop, we ran chicken wire all the way around the outside and underneath to protect them from predators. We did everything we could to guard our hens so that no foxes, or other unwanted critters could get in.
But according to Jesus, the fox is already in the henhouse. Herod was the governor of Galilee and was supposed to guard the people, protect them from harm, and look after their best interests as a good ruler would. He should have been protecting the henhouse. But as it turned out, he was a fox, less protecting his flock than profiting from them.
In contrast, Jesus is the mother hen trying to gather the flock to herself to protect them from the fox. Yet the chicks stray, unaware of the danger that surrounds them. They put their trust in things, governments, wealth, the law. All these things turn into foxes, like Herod, and become idols to be
And these foxes are tempting. They are sleek and wily and cunning, and they promise to be bulwarks against our fears. They promise to be
guardians, providing security, comfort, salvation, or control. But their
protections do not last, and eventually they consume us. Jesus exposes each of these things for what they are: foxes guarding the henhouse. And then he sets himself as our guard, giving himself in our place, knowing that we will stray, but always ready to welcome the lost chick back to the brood.
Prayer: Mothering God, You gave me life and know me fully. You know my hopes and fears, and how these can sometimes rule me. Gather me in, keep me from straying, and forgive me my trespasses when I do, so that I might return to You, my true guardian.