Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 Psalm 27 Philippians 3:17-4:1 Luke 13:31-35
On being vulnerable – even uncomfortable – in Lent
Confident people, it is said, walk like this: with their arms behind their backs, their “full fronts” exposed. This is a posture of confidence and vulnerability. The posture says: “I’m not afraid of you … come here.” Or in a taunting way, “come and get me, if you dare.” Notice how many public figures we see in this open, vulnerable, inviting (taunting?) walk.
In the barnyard, when a hen gathers her brood, her breast is exposed in this same way. Her wings are protecting whoever huddles at her side. The fox must get to her, kill her, before it can get to those she protects. By the time the fox might kill the mother hen, the fox is full … the chicks are saved.
This is the imagery of lament that Jesus gives us – that he is so sorrowful for the people that he loves that he longs to take this stance of protection, to put himself in harm’s way – the fox’s way – in order to save those he loves.
Can you imagine such love?
His reply to Herod is a taunt. “Tell that fox;” in other words, I know exactly the sort of cunning mind that Herod has and I am not going to fall for it. Tell Herod that I will spend a few days here (that’s the today, tomorrow, and the day after that reference), and then I’ll be on my way. Come and get me if you dare. Herod will not “come and get Jesus today;” Jesus is far too popular for such an open attack. “Getting” Jesus will take far more cunning … and must take place outside of Jerusalem. No matter what, the scriptures will be fulfilled.
Try this with me. Stand up if you will. First, protect yourself (arms in, hugging oneself). How does that feel? To me – pretty safe. Now stretch out your arms, open them – and be open not only to God but to whatever might come your way. Curl your arms to your sides and protect your brood. How does that feel? Good? Vulnerable? Way too open and scary? (You may sit down.)
Jesus gives us the gift of protecting arms (brood),
Then open arms … on the cross.
Imagine that love. A protection that says “get me first” …
And the world did.
It is that love the we are trying to connect with in Lent. The love that said
I will be tempted and I will not give in to anything except God.
Jesus did not perform magic.
Jesus did not submit to the allure of food for his famished body, power for his human ego, safety for his human heart and soul.
Jesus submitted only to God.
In that light – Jesus is still the light of our world and THE world:
How is Lent going for you? What is it that you have given to our Father?
How about giving a few minutes of time for some prayer, extra prayer?
Maybe you are giving up sweets, or soda
Or feeling bad about yourself
Or hatred for someone else
Or whatever it is that keeps you from knowing the kind of love that Jesus offers. Give up whatever it is that keeps you from the love of Christ
Because there is nothing that keeps Jesus from loving us. Nothing. Chest open, arms around, then arms outstretched …
We are on the journey from protection to wide open vulnerability.
I invite you to the vulnerability of Jesus the Christ.
Jesus will protect you. (And me)
We are asked for forty days – less than that now – to give up something delightful, to ponder our humanity and our separation from that love
In order that we will know that love forever.