The Sky is Indeed Falling and There are Wolves in the Woods
by Jane Tawel
My husband and son call me “Chicken”. I have somehow lost all my other nicknames, including “wifey” or “mom”. And now that I am the sole female left to live amongst my two men, their daughters and sisters having moved to different Dreamlands, I am beckoned or lovingly teased by being called “Chicken”.
Raoul and Gordon tell me I have achieved this moniker because I am always, and they mean ALWAYS, screaming. Shrieking, they claim. Hence, I am a “chicken”. Evidently I not only scream during scary and violent movies, which I am now forbidden to watch in their presence, but I am told I also scream, when in the passenger seat; when someone quietly comes up behind me unexpectedly; when some thing bangs in the wind; and I scream, when, or so I am told, a fly lands on the counter, a kitten walks by, a child sneezes, an ant passes in front of me, or someone silently nods their head unexpectedly. I am a Chicken.
I have lately been called, I think “Chicken” perhaps by many of my friends and family. Perhaps not to my face, but, there is definitely the feeling that many consider me “Chicken” in the sense of the old fairy tale, “Chicken Little”, or “Henny Penny” as the Brexits call it. It is true. I have been unable to clear my head ever since the large piece of firmament fell on it in the last weeks, toppled from the sky, Made in the USA, in the land in which I live. I have been running around, screaming, “The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!” My head literally still feels numb and aching — as if my head will blow apart — from the very large chunk of celestial matter that fell right on top of my mind. It is like a window in my mind opened up, was blown to bits in fact, and I could suddenly see out on a world that I might have suspected was the reality in which I lived, but which I could still turn away from. Now I feel as if my mind’s eye is forced to look out that blown out window at what my world — physical, human, and spiritual — is really like after all. It is mind-blowing — like being hit on the head with a sky boulder.
The phrase, “The sky is falling” is meant to imply that the person, or “Chicken” saying it, is foolish and hysterical — humorous –if it weren’t for the fact that the chicken convinces so many of her friends — the Duck, the Goose, the Rabbit — to panic and run with her because the sky is falling. All these peaceful, non-aggressive truth-seeking animals eventually let the Fox lead them to the Lion — the King of the Forest. The Fox assures all the wrongly hysterical animals that the Lion will confirm whether the sky is in fact falling or not. Of course — the Lion assures them they are hysterical and that the sky is in fact not falling. Then he eats them. The clever, wily Fox enjoys the leftovers.
So you see, even though everyone tells the story as if the Chicken is foolish and wrong, in the end she is right. The world might not have been ending right then for everyone, not necessarily because the sky was literally falling, but Chicken Little’s world of peace and unity and justice and love and joy, did end. Just not the way she expected. The sky is falling is a metaphor — and of course some of us believe metaphors are always truer than fact — deeper Truth needing to be told in pictures or poetry. The World doesn’t get better. It does actually end. It ends because a predator capitalist fox and a greedy power-mongering lion, ate Chicken and the other animals — not because they were hungry, but because they could,(and because Chicken was irritating). Just like in the past, a predator fascist Fox and a greedy power mongering Lion ate other animals. And a predator communist Fox and a greedy power-mongering Lion ate other animals. And a predator Khmer Rouge Fox and a greedy power mongering Lion ate other animals. And before that a predator European Fox and a greedy power mongering Colonist Lion ate other animals. And before that, and before that, and before that, and before that, and before that. . . .
And once a Fox named Herod and a Lion called God’s Chosen People Judah, killed a Chicken named Jesus.
And throughout time, Chicken Littles are mocked or calmed or silenced. Or crucified. Chickens are told that it is time to move on– “The sky hasn’t fallen, Join us!”, — and we all need to just go back to the pretense of getting along. But Chicken Little was right. Because unless we are caring for the sky, and the earth, and the children, and the other animals, and each other, and Yahweh, and unless we are caring for justice and truth and free will and sharing and serving and mercy and love and shalom — well then, the sky is always going to be falling. The climate is indeed, always changing. And we want to look at a dark night sky and call it daylight. But the sky is falling. And it always has been, since The Fall. Falling. Falling. Falling.
Until Jesus comes riding in on the clouds. Then the Falling will stop.
Trust me, this doom of mine really bugs people. You are so bugged right now. And I do not blame you. I am not a very good prophet — not really one at all — I am after all, not Chicken Little but, as my boys will tell you, I am “Little Chicken”. I don’t mean by this story I’ve retold here, to compare myself to any true prophetic voices — but there are plenty of true prophets out there. They are even more irritating that I am because they are much smarter and more spiritual than I.
And I don’t blame you for being upset. No one likes to hear their Sky is falling. Not even Chicken Little– after all she keeps trying to prove to her own self that she is wrong! She is looking for signs and people to convince her she is wrong. But her head is still hurting from the blow and she is still looking out of the window. And she can’t not see or feel. And she can’t not hear the voices of the prophets, written on subway walls and in Bible verses.
After the prophets are shut up or killed, the people left don’t care. They can finally move on. They get to live on with the knowledge that they were right. The sky didn’t fall after all. And so everyone gets to say, “I was right, see. You were wrong.” Only a wee part of the sky fell and that part doesn’t affect me. Everyone is safe in the knowledge that they were right.
Except Chicken Little. She’s dead.
You know, the Lion of Judah — the real Aslan — compared Himself to a chicken. In his own words, Jesus said: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Luke 13: 34, 35)
Jesus’ hearers would have remembered their scripture and the words that God Himself spoke to His Chosen People, Israel in Psalm 91, when God compares Himself to a Chicken.
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
. Perhaps what has really made my mind go numb lately as if a piece of the heavens had fallen on top of it, is the forgetfulness of God’s people about Who God is, Who Jesus is. About my forgetfulness about Who God Is. You see God and Jesus are Chickens. God and Jesus try to warn us over and over and over again, through their prophets, through their Words, through metaphor and myth and story and laws and examples– through Jesus’ non- powerful death as a criminal on a cross — through The Father’s non-greedy serving heart — God warns us that the Sky is Indeed Falling– but that you, dearly beloved, do not need to panic like chickens with your heads cut off. You do not need to look to any one — not the Fox nor the Lion — to tell you the truth and save you. You do not need to fear or grasp, or grab, or deny, or fall by the wayside and curl up in a little ball of denial. BUT — (God loves this conditional conjunction and uses it often) BUT!! — My beloved little chicks, says God: You do need to waddle along on your little feet and imprint on Me, Your Mother Chicken.You do need to obey me. You do need to repent.You do need to follow in the ways of my servant Son. You do need to see and speak the truth. You do need to love. You do need to be different. You do need to trust Me. You do need to converse with Me and listen. You do need to walk the narrow path. You need to seek The Kingdom and The King. You need to lay up treasures that don’t have a president’s picture on them. You need to worship in humility and joy not power and comfort. You need to cover yourself not with the strength of the Lion, but with the blood of The Lamb.
But you know, there are always people who want to see God as being on the side of the Fox and the Lion. There will always be those of us who can not submit to a God who uses feathers not claws. There are always people who will do semantic and spiritual gymnastics to get the leftovers. We always prefer the powerful because we prefer not to trust. And so the sky keeps falling and people call it evolution. And the world never changes til the end, but we call it progress. And the prophets are killed and we call it reality. And the Son of Man weeps and calls… until He judges. And one day He gathers His chicks to a new earth and a new sky.
You know to be honest, of course, the Chicken Littles really just want, like everyone else, to turn off the violence, and not look at the signs, and not scream any more, and go back to pretending that they were never hit on the head with a piece of the sky. But until this Little Chicken gets tired and folds her cards and admits she is trumped. . . . well, as any one will tell, you, I hate gambling so until I get that tired….. I’d rather read a good story and keep inviting you all to hear Good Stories as well.
Tomorrow I will tell you the story of “Peter and the Wolf” — another prophetic myth seldom told any more. After all, the “Wolf of Wall Street” is a lot more fun to hear. And The Ending is to die for.
“Chicken and Her Men”