Easter, for this year, is long past. And yet, one of my favorite (and recently discovered!) Sabbath pastimes is still making pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter eggs.
I designed this one for Mom: a hen with her two chicks. The idea was inspired first by the fact that this is, after all, an egg. But it’s also reminiscent of an important story about Jesus, who, though teaching us to pray to God as Father, also displayed what we might consider to be a maternal side.
The time had nearly come for Jesus to be arrested and crucified. Ever since arriving in Jerusalem, he had been badgered by one religious opponent after another until, having silenced them all, he turned to accuse them of deep hypocrisy.
And there, before leaving the temple with his disciples, he lamented over the city and its people:
Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you. How often I wanted to gather your people together, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that. Look, your house is left to you deserted. (Matt 23:37-38, CEB)
His triumphal entry into the city should have been a welcome home party, and seemed to begin that way. That early celebration, however, would quickly turn to mockery and murder. And yet. . .even in the midst of such deadly opposition, Jesus expresses what sounds like a maternal instinct.
Imagine chicks that refuse their mother’s protection when the barnyard is on fire. Then imagine Jesus’ grief at the coming desolation. He does not respond to rejection with rejection, but with broken-hearted lament.
Many mothers understand that sorrow all too well. Perhaps it would be a good time for all of us to reflect: how often did our moms try to save us from our own foolishness?
This Mother’s Day, let us thank God for the sacrificial love of moms everywhere. And let us direct that thanks to a God whose heart is also to nurture and protect.
Happy Mother’s Day, with love.