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.”
What a wonderful Sunday morning. We had baby chicks at children’s sermon, as per my preaching text cut from Luke 13:31-35. I talked about how
helpless they are, how much Jesus wants to care for us. In big-people sermon I talked about the strangeness of Jesus’ reference to Herod as that fox and himself as a hen. It was a respectable sermon, but I’ve no doubt what people remembered: cuddling the chicks and listening to them chirp through the rest of the service.
What a strange Sunday afternoon. My after-church is to let my grown hens free-range in the yard, woods and garden while I play with the dogs. Then I go inside for a nap. I’d been awake awhile when I noticed a couple of birds were no longer cooing but screeching. I went to the window and saw a sweep of feathers in the grass. My son and I ran outside in time to see a full- grown fox standing over one of my girls. The hen was still alive, kicking and flailing but too torn up to save. The fox backed up just a little and stared at me, unafraid and unapologetic. “Go,” I said. He sauntered off, cool as you please.
Ben came back with a blade to kill my hen but she’d already died, so we set about rounding up the rest of my flock. Some came right to me to be carried back to the coop. Others followed along but a few had to be caught, too terrified to be in the open again. The count was still one short. We looked and looked for her but only found another patch of feathers. I figure she got carried back to a den to feed some kits.
The afternoon was as sad as the morning was sweet, and who’d have thought a fox would have figured into both? The sermon makes less sense now than then, with its metaphorical fox standing in for human evil, while the fox I met has nothing to be sorry for. Almost as if creation itself seems to be editing my sermons.
~peace & prayers,