Lectionary Reflection: Luke 13:31-35: The Fox and the Hen, a fable retold.

Once there was a fox, and a clever little creature he was, too.  He ruled the woods with his cleverness, making the crow give up her grapes and the jackdaw her piece of meat.  My, how everyone in the woods respected the fox!

One day he wandered past the farmyard and thought he might go for a little chicken dinner.  All the animals in the woods warned him about the farmer who lived there, but he went there from time to time and never saw a farmer.  To be sure, he did not even know if a farmer existed or if he believed in the farmer.  Not saying he did not believe, mind you, only he was not going to let that interfere with doing what he wanted.

On that day, he found the mother hen sitting in front of the chicken coop.  He considered it, but decided against it because mother hens could be ornery and he did not feel like being pecked.  Besides, there were easy pickings in the dozen little chicks pecking around the yard.

The fox came out on to the yard and danced before the chicks could run for shelter.  The chicks froze where they were, fascinated to see a fox dance.  “Follow me.”  The fox shouted all at once.  He began to run around the chicken coop and the little chicks followed, happily at first, but soon enough they became terribly dizzy and they all fell down, unable to move another step.

The fox quickly scooped them up into his bag and tied the top tight.  Then he decided all that dancing and running made him thirsty so he would go to the well for a fresh drink of water before carrying his supper home.

While the fox was gone, the mother hen came down from her perch and untied the bag.  She scooted all her chicks out and replaced them with stones, finally making sure the bag was tied, just as the fox had left it.  When she returned to her seat, she gathered all of the chicks under her wing where they would be safe and warm and not visible.

Sure enough, the fox returned, scooped up his bag and went back to the woods without a second look…

1.         God longs to gather us under his wing as Jesus longed to gather Jerusalem, but we are so often fascinated by the dancing and inclined to follow along without thinking it through…

2.         God will protect us as a mother hen gathers her chicks, but do not be so foolish as to think the Christian life will be free of suffering and want.   To prove the point, just look to the Cross…

3.         The fox: the cleverness of men—those who rule over us in both the public and private worlds, they rule in the wilderness and take advantage of people in the settled lands (farmlands)—to consume them.  The foxes of this earth never worry about the farmer,  never think that the farmer may be watching, that is, if they even believe the farmer exists…

4.         The violence by which we humans live is understated in this fable.  When you consider it, are we addicted to solving our problems and disagreements through violence even as Jerusalem killed the prophets?  Might God weep for us, for our community, for our nation as he wept for Jerusalem?  Would he cry out to us?  Is he crying out even now?

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