(Note: there’s a copyright in the center if you look closely)
Today was the first day I got to go to the women’s bible study at my church. They have them every third Friday of the month, which is hard because some days I have assignments on Fridays but today I was free all day! It was definitely a day off and felt so good.
The theme today was “Beneath Her Wings,” a bible study article written by Audrey West and published in the March edition of Gather magazine.
When Jesus (in the Gospel of Luke) is on his way to meet his end in Jerusalem and he offers shelter, he refers to himself as a mother hen, to those who remain close to him.
Our pastor spoke of this before in a previous sermon. I like the idea of Jesus as a mother hen because it is a metaphor for someone soft and gentle, yet strong and protective — showing the feminine side of our savior Jesus Christ. With all the other biblical metaphors Jesus could have chosen — a lion, an eagle, a bear — he chose the hen, a mother who loves her chicks so much that she gives them shelter under her wings.
Another soft reference for Jesus is as the lamb of God, my person favorite imagery of Jesus.
One of the questions we discussed was what keeps people from desiring to be gathered beneath Christ’s wings … what gets in the way of our own acceptance of God’s shelter?
My answer was that people may not be rejecting Jesus, but rather how the church is viewed. Remember a few months ago when Pastor Bell didn’t want to tip a waitress and wrote a nasty note to her that read, “I give God 10 percent, why should I give you 18?” I blogged about it here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/pastor-bell-do-the-math/
Ridiculous things like this can turn people off to church. So it’s best, as Christians, to be more careful and not do silly things like this. It’s very hard to be sin free and perfect (I am the first to say because I can get very mean when provoked), but I feel that those in high places in the church have a responsibility to their flock and need to be on their best behavior when out in the public eye.
I also said that people may fear going to church because they could fear being judged. Unlike our church where people are so accepting. I shared that I felt comfortable from the get-go. Others in the church had tattoos like myself. Everyone is down to earth. I truly get so much comfort and joy going there because I can be myself. If this is how God loves me, so should everyone else — and I get that impression that I am very loved in my church, as I love everyone there too. Even if I wasn’t Christian, I can honestly say we really do have a good group of people who are positive, cheerful, polite, smart, fun, funny, joyous, happy, good hearted, kind and giving. (And I’m a fussy person who doesn’t take much to people — trust me on that!)
As June, who ran the bible study, said, “We have saints and sinners here alike … and you can’t beat that!” Not sure if those were her exact words, but that’s the gist of it, meaning no one is perfect and that’s fine!
Young girls in our church wear pretty dresses, some are short and that is fine. No one judges. I’ll never forget when I was young and I was wearing a short skirt. I got out of my car to go the bank and an old biddy yelled at me, “You have a Billy Graham bumper sticker on your car, but you are dressed like a hooker!” That was so mean. And I will never be that judging to another person, as long as I have my wits about me.
Another positive thing I learned about my church was that back in the 1960s the pastor who was at my church did a lot for the civil rights movement, which was absolutely great.
Being with this group of senior ladies for just a few hours really made my day. It takes me back to when I was just 18 and working my first job at Scribner Book Company. All the older ladies looked after me, like mother hens. Now I have this wonderful group of church ladies to converse with and share and grow with.
Perhaps this is a way Jesus manifests through other people … another way to interpret the “mother hen” reference.
Yeah, God is good that way … showing that He’s near in many creative ways and knows which way you personally will resonate most with.