The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Mother mentors

One of the joys in our workplace is that we have colleagues at different stages in life. This results in more than casual “water cooler” conversation. Often the stories are fun and helpful.

So it is with mother/grandmother Sonia and relatively new mother Julie. Sonia’s three sons are 39, 37 and 33 (and her eight grandchildren range in age from 12 to almost 6 months). Julie’s children are 4, 1 and 1 (16-month old twins).

When Luke 13:31-35 came up as an e-newsletter lectionary text, both of us were drawn to the image of Jesus as mother hen. It’s no wonder, we delight in telling “mothering stories.”

Occasionally the mothering stories include some wisdom from Sonia regarding what is yet to come for Julie. As in, “Your kids will likely say they hate you, you know.” At least that’s what we talked about when discussing this text, which shows Jesus caring deeply about a Jerusalem that has killed its prophets and is threatening to kill him. Still, Jesus loves the city as a mother hen loves and gathers her chicks in to protect them.

For Sonia, this image of a hen gathering chicks brought to mind a vivid (albeit old) memory of one son saying in a fit of anger, “I hate you!” And her response, “Yes, you probably are angry at me right now and feel like you hate me. But I love you very much.”

For Julie, this was not good news.

But, alas, a very real possibility.

But back to this wonderful text: a hen gathering chicks. That’s what Jesus does for us. When we lash out, misbehave, even say hateful things to those we love most, God — the most loving parent imaginable — hugs, forgives and loves. Jesus keeps on loving and gathering us in — despite our rejection, anger and times of going our own way.

That is more than water-cooler wisdom. It’s good news for our children and grandchildren. It’s good news for all of us.

This week's front page features:

Fasting & feasting: These two practices, together, can lead us to true celebration. (Photo at right.)

Help is on the way: That's what the five best movies of 2006 tell us.

Movie shows immigrant experience: Love and hospitality win out.

City pastor, country pastor: Seminarians get a dose of rural ministry.

Also: Study on biblical interpretation begins.

Also: Groundwork laid for social statement on genetics.

Also: Learning to pray.

Read these articles on our front page > > >

Discuss rural immersion:

Join Gretchen Ritola (right), a pastor in the Nebraska Synod who serves two congregations in Emerson. She's also on the rural ministry committee for the immersion experience that the synod helps the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago offer its students.

The conversation begins today and runs through March 6.

Consider reading "City pastor, country pastor" before joining in.

Join the discussion > > >

This week on our blog:

Amber Leberman blogs about online publishing.

Julie Sevig (right), celebrating her 50th birthday, writes about attending an Oprah taping.

Sonia Solomonson blogs about designer children and other complexities.

Check out our blog > > >

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Tell us! Putting your faith on the line:

What kind of courage does it take for you to live out your faith in your workplace?

If you have a story to tell about living your faith — gasp, even sharing your faith — in a setting where it’s out of the ordinary, share it with readers of The Lutheran.

Send 300-500 words by March 31 to Julie Sevig, The Lutheran, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631-4101.

Members: Respond online > > >

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February issue


Embracing diversity