Service & Reflection: Sunday 14th March

By on March 13, 2021

Link for recorded Sunday service,


The farmyard was a peaceful place – safe and warm for the animals that lived there. The pig in
his sty, the young calves in the big shed, the lambs in the pen, the ducks on the pond and the
hens – the hens were everywhere, clucking and pecking at the grain and food scraps all around
the yard.

The hens truly were everywhere – except for one mother hen, who was busy with her newly
hatched brood of chicks. Little, fluffy, yellow bundles of new life looked after by a proud mum.
It was a typical, peaceful farmyard scene – a safe place to live – at least it was, until one night.
All the animals had settled to sleep, when a strange new smell was caught on the wind – an
unfamiliar, unpleasant smell, a dangerous smell. The mother hen awoke. She smelt it too. It
was the smell of burning. Somehow, somewhere in the darkness of the night a fire had begun.
It was spreading fast, licked into a fury by the wind. Stubble began to burn, the hay in the
hayloft caught light and the dry wood of the pens was soon ablaze.

Panic set in among the animals. The lambs were bleating, the cattle lowing in distress, the pigs
snorting with fear, the ducks were flapping and squawking, the hens scurrying about in
confusion. The mother hen sensed the danger and drew her chicks closer to her for safety.
Surely the farmer would be alerted by now? He would come and rescue them from the corner
of the barn that had become their temporary home. The mother hen sat tight and waited – too
frightened to leave, too protective of her young to move.

The farmer did come but not to the barn. Bringing water and beaters, he and his friends did
their best to douse the roaring flames and rescue the bigger animals. It was hard work.
Exhausted they had to be content with containing the disaster and waiting for dawn to see the
damage. They rescued all they could.

What about the mother hen? When the farmer began the morning search of the ashes in the
barn, he spied something unusual – a sad lump of charred feathers in one corner. The poor hen,
overcome by the fumes and the heat, had died. But – didn’t the feathers move? Yes! Something
was alive. He brushed back the mess and out stumbled six little chicks, safe and sound,
protected from disaster by a mother’s love. She had died so that they could be saved. She had
given her life so that they would go on living.

It was only three weeks to Easter and this one event, more than anything else, helped the farmer
to understand for the first-time what Easter was really all about.

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