What images of Jesus do you have in worship? What words do you use to describe the Christ? What today’s text tells us in part is that we need to expand our catalog of images when speaking of the redeeming love of God in Jesus. When Jesus compares himself to a mother hen, the door is open for finding ways to communicate the grace and love that we need to confess and repent.
It might be time for someone to tell his/her story. A testimony of the healing power of grace and love can be a big help to worshipers in comprehending this gift. Perhaps there is a story in the serving ministries of the church, someone who was loved and accepted and served, even while feeling unworthy of such a gift. These stories are ways of letting folks know that grace abounds and still has the power to change lives.
Songs of faith, like God’s got the whole world, can be reminders even for the longest-term members of the congregation that God still gathers us together. “Draw the Circle Wide” (Worship & Song, 3154) is a newer song about reaching beyond traditional boundaries to encompass all of God’s people.
This can be a reminder that our sinfulness does not exclude us from God’s grace. We can remember together that no matter how far short it seems like we fall, how far we lag behind on the discipleship path, God has not given up on us; there is still a place for us at the table of the Lord. Let our prayers, even the prayers of confession, be full of thanksgiving for forgiveness and for grace. Let us be inspired to love more, to risk more, to reach out more, to include more.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.