Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 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!” And in these words is all the longing of God for God’s people.
God, who designed the cosmos and pronounced it “good”, who stirs us to wonder, to mystery and the deep joy of living into who we were created to be, this God yearns for us. Like a hen, like a mother, with a force beyond all reason, this God desires to enfold and protect us.
What is it that separates us, that makes us unwilling to be gathered by the God who loves us so deeply and so passionately? Why do we turn God’s words upside down or ignore them, living in a world of our own design, a world as small and unsurprising as our own ordinary minds? Is it that we don’t really understand what it means to be in relationship with that Holy Presence at the core of the world and at the core of our hearts? Is it that we want to be in control of our lives, and being held close by God would end that? Do we really believe that what we experience with our senses is all that exists? Do our egos, like petty tyrants, isolate us within our own skins?
We are a cantankerous, stiff-necked lot. We kill fresh ideas and radical insights. We bury our visionaries in verbal abuse and threats of physical harm. Cynicism rules our thinking and the cold light of reason has dimmed our wonder.
And yet, God is the heart of all our yearning. Behind every obsession, under every desire, the longing for our Creator pulses through us. And we are filled with restless dissatisfaction, as St. Augustine suggests, until all other roads have ended in dust and we find our rest in God.
And so Jesus walks across the countryside. He journeys to Jerusalem, that place where all the prophets must die. As he goes each of his steps, each of his words, all of his acts are like love letters cast on the wind. “Take off the veils hiding your eyes, shake away the husks enveloping your hearts, and turn, and come to your Beloved, your Abba, your God.” He is the lodestone given us that we might find our way. He is the answer to our deepest prayers.
Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and liturgical artist, a writer and lay preacher living in Fort Collins, CO. See her work online at Everyday Mysteries With others she manages a website for the Diocese of Colorado highlighting congregations’ creative ministries: Fresh Expressions Colorado