Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12, “The Parable of the Not So Chicken Chicken”

The Not So Chicken ChickenOnce upon a time there was a chicken. She looked like an ordinary chicken.

She clucked like an ordinary chicken. She laid eggs like an ordinary chicken. She crossed the road like an ordinary chicken.

Except this chicken was no ordinary chicken.

There was nothing extraordinary about her. She wasn’t bigger or stronger or leaner or anything that would make her stick-out in a crowded hen house. She pecked like every other chicken. She ate feed like every other chicken.   

Except this chicken was no ordinary chicken.

 What made this chicken different? Was it a swagger about her? Not really. Was it the way she looked at the sky? No, she knew the sky wasn’t falling. Was it a sense of calm or a sense of excitement or panic or peace? No. She was very ordinary that way too.

Except this chicken was no ordinary chicken.

It is not that she was nicer than other chickens. She was just as flawed. She wasn’t always the best friend she could be. She didn’t always follow through as best she could. She was tempted to try to be popular. She wanted to be cool. She compromised her values occasionally and was ridden with guilt about it appropriately. She in fact presented herself in every imperfect way that every other chicken does. But she had something other chickens didn’t.

She believed.

It wasn’t an impersonal belief or a belief that required long explanations. It was rather quite simple really. She knew that God loved, her, and claimed her, and would not forget about her, no matter what. And that simple belief, that trust that God would never forsake her, changed everything.

She was actually a rather shy chicken. She didn’t like to talk about her faith. She wasn’t embarrassed or anything like that. She just couldn’t find the words. Her faith seemed such a part of who she was she couldn’t separate it; as if her life and faith were two different things. Her life and faith were one and the same.Actually that integration and the mystery that surrounded it is what made her no ordinary chicken.

It is what made other chickens take notice.

Some made fun of her for it. Chickens can be exceptionally cruel. But in that cruelty from others was a desire – a desire to see what made her tick. A desire to see if it was real. A desire, to long for such a faith themselves. So they attacked her, and pecked on her, and called her mean and nasty things. She wasn’t saintly. She didn’t just take it. She was still a chicken after all. She spent a number of nights in the coop crying herself to sleep. She’d look at the moon in the night sky and pray, “why does this have to be so hard?”And in that whisper she felt better. She knew that God was near and did not forget about her.

Like I said, she was no ordinary chicken.

As much as the other chickens thought she was weird, strange and different; they also somewhat admired her. She had a certain confidence in her meekness around the barnyard, and the other chickens looked to her for strength in a time of crisis.

There was the time the fox got into the coop and killed several hens in the community. It was a tragedy that would linger in this small community for years. Her role in it was something special. After the fox got into the coop and cornered a few hens, it was our chicken who ran inside to help when panic sent everyone else running. Several chickens, including the rooster, owe their life to her that day. She wasn’t a hero in that she saved the day or defeated the fox, or sent the fox away. Her wing never quite worked the same after that scuffle. She laid injured on the ground with the others. The fox left with a grin on his face, and it looked like he had every intention of coming back, and probably soon.

What made our chicken stand out was that while she laid there injured… She consoled those around her. “God is with you,” she said. “God won’t leave you,” she said. “I won’t leave you either,” she said. Those were not empty words. She meant them. She believed them. Those who were next to her, whether they were dying, or would get better, they started to believe it too.

But chickens are chickens.

Things were never quite the same after that, except that most chickens wanted them to be. They went back to pecking on our chicken, and making fun of her, and wondering who she thought she was. She knew who she was. That was the problem. The more they tried to tear her down the stronger she seemed. She would walk away when they made fun of her.

Yet she was a force to be reckoned with if they attacked someone else.

One of her friends had chicks one spring, and one of them was not like the others. He walked funny. His chirp wasn’t quite right. His feathers stood up on his head. They were relentless to this poor little chick…and he was a sensitive little guy. But our chicken befriended him, stood up for him, and didn’t let the others near him. She always stood between them, to take the blows herself. She wasn’t trying to be a martyr. She just loved him when nobody else would. She figured God was like that. She wanted to be like that too.

Even in spite of all that happened. The other chickens hated her. They hated her because they could not control her. They resented her for that.

She was no ordinary chicken.

She never questioned that the farmer came and took the eggs each day. She figured it was part of the trade-off; there is a role for everyone on God’s green earth. Her job was to provide eggs. The farmer’s job was to provide the coop, feed, and the chicken community. She found a certain joy in her work.

Others resented the farmer. She thanked him whenever she saw him. It’s not that he could understand her; she was a chicken, after all.She only spoke chicken. But she would stand next to him when he fed the others, and look with gratitude at his smiling face. Farm life went on. There were rainstorms. There were hot days. There was always the threat of the fox’s return. There were days of great meaning, and many more days between them. In them our chicken, this not so chicken chicken had the courage to believe, the courage to trust, the courage to put herself on the line for those she loved. She didn’t do it to prove to the others her worth, or their folly, She did it because she knew in her little chicken heart and gizzard; that crossing the road to the other side was never easy; but her faith always reminded her why.

God loved her, and claimed her, and would not forget about her, no matter what.

Jesus saw the crowd, and stood on the Mountain, had the people sit down

Then he began to speak, saying to them…

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you when people revile you, and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice, and be glad. (Matthew 5:1-12)

Sometimes it takes a chicken to see how powerful Jesus words are, and what they might mean for us. For aren’t we all chickens, really? Pecking this way and that?  Eating our feed? Laying our eggs? Seeking shelter in our coop?

God loves you.  God claims you. God will never forget you. No matter what.

It is hard to believe it sometimes. Because sometimes, we feel, well, chicken. But you are a not a chicken chicken.  You are the Blessed one of God. Called to live. Called to breathe. Called to be a breath of fresh air to others. You are the Blessed one of God, and no one, no one, can keep you penned up in the coop any longer.

It is time to cross the road to the other side: The side of confidence, hope, and faith.

For you, my not so chicken chicken are Blessed from on high. Rejoice and be glad.

No matter what. Amen

About geoff sinibaldo

Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father, Son, Friend, Volunteer Firefighter, Teacher, Mission Focused Church Leader, Camp Lover, Change Proponent, Seeking Faithfulness in the 21st Century
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1 Response to Sermon on Matthew 5:1-12, “The Parable of the Not So Chicken Chicken”

  1. Wanda Christian says:

    Nice job Geoff! I never though of a chicken that way and probably never will think of a chicken the same way again. It’s good influence for us “chickens”. Good story cousin-in law. Wanda

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