By Elizabeth Baumann
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 13:31-35
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 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. 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.’ 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! 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.’”
A few weeks back I was working in my front garden and my girls were playing in the yard. My two-year-old started to head down the driveway toward the street, so I called to her to turn around and come back. She turned and looked at me with mischief in her face. She ran, and I ran after her, yelling for her to stop. She didn’t stop. She was nearly into the neighbor’s yard across the street before I caught her. I can only conclude that God must really want me to become holy, because he gave me two strong-willed children — children who are normally healthily afraid of cars in the street.
So I really understand Jesus in today’s lesson, pivoting from anger to anguish. He is, after all, the one through whom all the world was made, the one who will soon suffer and spend his life to save that same world. Even the bad guy here, Herod, is one of his children — one of his willful, infuriating children blindly bent on his own destruction and that of anyone he can take with him. Jesus came to show us the Father, and perhaps he does it more clearly here than in any other passage of the gospels, when he laments over his most wayward children and expresses his loving care for them. So lest we should ever fear we are beyond his love, read this lesson and know we never can be. Neither is anyone else, no matter how wicked we imagine they are. All he asks is that we stop running across the street and come to him.
Elizabeth Baumann is a seminary graduate, a priest’s wife, and the mother of two small daughters. A transplant from the West Coast, she now lives in “the middle of nowhere” in the Midwest with too many cats.
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Today we pray for:
Diocese of Ruaha (Tanzania), The Rt. Rev. Joseph Mgomi
Diocese of Europe (England), The Rt. Rev. Robert Innes
Diocese of Europe (Episcopal Church), The Rt. Rev. Mark D.W. Edington
Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas