Tuesday, May 7, 2013

As A Hen Protects Her Chicks

"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, and you were not willing.” Luke 13:34

I have always loved the passage from Luke 13:34. It is just such a powerful image for me.  I have seen with my own eyes how baby chicks will scramble toward their mother and hide beneath her; either from the threat of other animals or simply as a shelter from the elements.  It’s really something to see how many chicks can hide there, too.  Zoop, there goes another one!  After the moment of danger passes, she will stand up and out will scatter all these little birds.  I love it!

Just like that hen, Jesus had a desire to protect, to shelter the vulnerable of the people of God there in Jerusalem.  He loved them so much, but his options to help were limited by the people themselves.  What a great burden it must have been.

A Mother to Many
My father was my mother’s pastor.  He was a young student pastor and she was the song leader of the church he pastored.  She was still in high school, some four years younger than he. 

Being VERY proper, my father asked her parents AND the church for permission to date my mother and they approved.  Only a few days after graduating high school, my mother entered the ministry as a minister’s wife.  She had not even been to college yet, but she took on the full mantle of ministry along with my dad.  They have been married for almost 51 years now, and she has served with him as wife, mother, and in so many ways as co-pastor for every single one of them.

Growing up my mother was periodically my Sunday school teacher, was the only youth director I ever had in high school, and frequently spoke in my father’s absence.  She is a very, very good preacher/teacher.  There was a few times where she and Dad teamed up for pre-marital counseling as young couples prepared for their lives together.  For many of the years (and at multiple churches) she was the church pianist as well and would supplement the family income by teaching piano in our home during the week.

It Wasn’t About Her
My mother was Valedictorian of her high school class in 1962.  She could likely have gone to college just about anywhere.  But she didn’t.  Not for many years.  She raised her family and served in ministry with my father for almost twenty-five years before going back to school in her forties and becoming a school teacher. 

I could not tell you the number of lives that she helped form through her teaching, counseling, discipleship, and Godly example.  My mother has been a mother to so many, across fifty one years.  No matter who came along, at whatever hour or season, when baby chicks needed shelter, she gathered them beneath her wings and gave them spiritual, emotional, and sometimes, even physical shelter.

Looking back, it’s very clear that my mother’s entire adult life has been lived for the sake of others.  Her husband, her four children, her church, her students, her community…I am so proud to testify that my mother – Carolyn Ruth Hurt Patton has been a steady and accurate example of Christian service, and Christian love; not only for my life, but for the duration of her own.  I am honored to present her to you and wish her the most happy of Mother’s days this year.

Almighty God, How blessed I have been, as have been so many, by the life of my mother.  I pray that you empower and equip each of us to be the very best parents, church members, community servants and Christian examples that we can possibly be. We owe such a debt of gratitude for our Godly parents.  Make us living testaments of these who have served you so well, and examples for those who follow us.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

submitted by Kerry Patton

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