Many years ago there was a woodsman who lived far out in the wilderness on a small farm. During the day he would spend his time in the forest, cutting down trees that he would later sell to the little saw mill in town. In the mornings and evenings he would take care of his small barnyard animals, including his prize-awarding chickens. One afternoon as the shadows were lengthening and the sun was slipping behind the western mountains, the woodsman turned his steps toward home. As he neared the small clearing where his farm stood, however, he began to be alarmed. Smoke was rising in great, billowy clouds. Running as fast as he could, the man soon discovered that his chicken house was on fire! He began pouring buckets of water on the blaze until all that was left was a smoldering pile of blackened wood. Walking between the embers, the woodsman found all of his chickens' bodies, silent and burned. But as he nudged one of the bodies with his foot, he was surprised to see it move! Then, from beneath the hen's lifeless wings, her little baby chicks scurried out. The mother hen had selflessly covered her babies with her wings, protecting them at the cost of her own life.

This is the picture that Jesus had in mind that afternoon as he stood, crying, on the steps of the temple. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37) Mothers, whether they are chickens, dogs, cats, horses, or even human, will do anything to protect their children. But as we honor them this weekend, let's also remember who Else is willing to do anything to protect His children. Jesus came down to this earth and gave up His own life for ours, as a hen gathering her chicks under her wings.

Are you thankful?

Pastor Sutherland

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