Daily Worship

Our place

James Cathcart February 27, 2023 3 1
Image credit: Unsplash
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Matthew 23: 37-39 (NRSVA)

37 ‘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! 38 See, your house is left to you, desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”’

Not all dinosaurs became extinct. A handful clung on and adapted to the changing times, finding their hardy beaky mouths and feathery covering quite handy in times of sudden climatic regime change. That’s right, birds! The little sparrow hopping through your garden came from a dinosaur. Better watch your step when refilling the feeder. The dashing goldfinch on a sortie, the waddling penguin on parade, the officious hurrying oystercatcher — a flinty mother hen scooping up her chicks and brooking no argument… all dinosaurs.

It’s becoming a fun speculation that dinosaurs may well have often been more colourful and feathery than we previously imagined. Picture a massive multicoloured dinosaur covered in feathers. When that bedraggled pigeon doggedly hunts down your chip does he remember in his bones somehow the massive, glorious-psycho-apex-glam-predator stalking the land coded in his wings? When you catch the gleam in his eye and the reckless sudden jut of his head you might just think so.

In our reading Jesus compares himself with a hen wanting to gather up her brood. A sweet farmyard image, right? But we know that birds are actually tightly balled dinosaurs — majestic and marvellous. A hen’s life is not twee, docile and sentimental. It’s vivid and intense and saturated. Birds see way more colours than we do, into the ultraviolet spectrum. Chickens are strong but disarmingly dynamic and poised — their lives are lived in motion — searching, finding, gathering. A hen doesn’t gather her brood like a saccharine picture book character. She gathers them as a matter of fierce loyalty and demanding principle. Her charges are hers and she will leap and twist through this vibrant world in all its colour to find them.

Do we dismiss Jesus’s love as a sentimental saccharine fallback. ‘Well yes I suppose Jesus loves me and would cluck over me.’ Or do we embrace this picture Jesus himself gives us of a fierce, primal dinosaur love that wants to find us and gather us up as a matter of principle?




Our place is with you

gathered up in your love.


Lent Disciplines


We begin by focusing on ‘place’ — one of the themes in the first week of our Daily Worship. Pray this week for people who feel they don’t have a place, that they might start to feel they belong. Pray for places that need restoration and repair. Pray that we take good care of the places entrusted to us.