Artist’s Reflection: Mother Hen
The image of Christ as a mother hen is revolutionary. Instead of using a hypermasculine, militaristic, menacing image in response to Herod’s death threats, Jesus upends the expected posture of violence and chooses to identify with the nurturing, protective, feminine image of a mother hen. He explains his love for Jerusalem as a mother hen who desperately desires to lovingly shelter her young. This image drips of rejection, however, because the chicks are unwilling to be protected. In Jesus’ attempt to love the world he meets unwillingness, distrust, mockery, and violence.
Jesus’ use of this simile is wonderfully subversive because at first it seems like a harmless, warm, and fuzzy kind of reference—a cuddly, plump mother hen wanting to snuggle her young—but mother hens will protect their young at all cost. A mother hen will put her whole body on the line to keep her chicks safe; if danger nears, she will meet it head on, striking with her beak, with claws raised high.
Jesus wants that fox (Herod) to know that death threats will not keep him from fiercely bringing healing and restoration to the world. — lauren wright pittman