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!
In the early days of the Nazi invasion of Russia the German army swept almost unopposed across the Ukrainian plains. Just short of Kiev stood a town that had one of the few bridges which would allow the retreating Russian army to cross. The local militia were ordered to hold until the last man.
For two days they fought valiantly holding up the mighty Germans and allowing their own troops to withdraw hopefully to fight elsewhere another day. Until in the early hours of the third day they finally had to concede and either surrender or try and escape. Many of the survivors were too badly wounded to flee some were carried back into the town or left to the mercies of the oncoming enemy.
As the morning wore on the German army progressed through the town firstly the mighty Tiger tanks then the victorious troops boldly marching. As they did so large crowds of townspeople gathered to watch and sometimes jeer, until the authorities began to fear someone might lob a leftover grenade or fire a few rounds from a hunting rifle and spark a massacre if the Germans retaliated. Fortunately apart from insults curses and the odd stone nothing was thrown or fired.
At the end of the column of conquering heroes came men who did not swagger or look proud for these were the wounded those who could walk and those carried on stretchers or laid in open trucks. The local militia had exacted a high price for the capture of their town. As the crowd looked on the shouts and insults became less until one elderly7 looking woman broke through the cordon and approached a heavily bandaged German walking with the aid of a makeshift crutch. As she reached him she put her hand deep inside he inside coat pocket fearing a knife or even gun would appear some soldiers took a step towards her but from her coat she drew not a weapon but a piece of old bread.
She offered this to the wounded man who was of course hungry he took a piece then passed it on to the soldier next to him. As he did so other women came forward with bread or sausage or bottles of drink and offered them to the wounded.
The men might be a foreign army The men might be the enemy The men might be those that had killed or maimed the Russian soldiers They might be many things but the thing they were more than anything else were someone’s son and they were hurting with no one to comfort them.
The power of a mother’s love overcame the loathing of a foreign soldier and all that mattered was helping the motherless son who was in pain frightened and a long way from home.
The motherhood of Jesus, God the Son, is often overlooked but here as he looks upon Jerusalem the city and the people who had mistreated and murdered so many of the Messengers from God the Father he sees not their misdeeds but their weaknesses which had led them to so many bad decisions and now as Jesus knew the time of their destruction was not far off He reaches out to them to protect them from the pain and the hardship that is coming as surely as his own crucifixion.
Like those Ukrainian mothers he reaches out to help because that is what they need. A loving caring parent to wipe away the tears and kiss away the pain no matter the cost to themselves
Lord God our parent in Heaven look upon all your children today and grant us your protection. Gather us in Lord under your eternal wings that we might be safe. As we fear may we feel your warmth, as we worry may we feel your confidence As we face an uncertain tomorrow may we know the certainty that you will be there tomorrow and always loving caring mothering and protecting us
In your Mercy hear our prayer