Under His Wing

Theme: God's love and care for his children. Second Sunday in Lent - Year C
Object: A picture of a hippopotamus
Scripture: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" Luke 13:34 (NIV)

How many of you know what this is? (Hold up a picture of a hippopotamus.) That's right it is a hippopotamus. Do you know what a female hippopotamus is called? It is called a cow. Well, if the female hippopotamus is called a cow, can you guess what her babies are called? Right again! They are called calves.

A few years ago a hippopotamus gave birth to twins at a zoo in Memphis, Tennessee. In deciding what to name the twins, there was a problem. The problem was that the mother hippo wouldn't let anyone close enough to her babies to determine whether they were boys or girls, so they didn't know what to name them.

The naming of the twins was delayed for a while as the mother continued to care for her babies: feeding them, protecting them, keeping them close to herself and away from danger. The babies didn't seem to mind that they didn't have a name and stayed close to their mother. They knew a good thing when they saw it -- and that good thing was a huge, funny looking, gray and pink creature who provided them with everything they needed. Why should they stray?

This kind of love and protection by the mother is very much the same in most animals. Some kangaroos, whose babies are called joeys, may stay in their mother's pouch for as long as nine months! Baby eagles, or eaglets as they are called, don't leave the nest until they are about three months old. so you see, it is quite natural for a mother to want to love and care for her children.

That is a very good example of the love that Jesus has for his children. The Bible tells us that one day Jesus stood looking over the city of Jerusalem and he cried, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." What a beautiful picture of Jesus. Like a mother hen, Jesus gathering his children under the shelter of his wing.

Jesus still loves his children today. He still wants to gather them in his arms and protect them and care for them. Sometimes, we stray away, but Jesus still loves us just the same. That's the kind of love he has for you and me.

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us and protecting us like a mother hen protects her chicks. I want to take my place under the shelter of your wing. Amen.

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