Archive for June, 2011

The Least of These

Two months ago, we had a bird’s nest in the front yard of the church—you may have seen pictures on our Facebook page, thanks to Janet Tharpe. I watched that bird’s nest with great enthusiasm until the last of the little robins had flown the nest.
Then Will discovered another bird’s nest at the church, this time in one of the fir trees planted in the beautiful new landscaping done by Jason White. I have to stand on a stool to see inside the nest, but three weeks ago, there were three blue eggs there, along with a nervous mother robin who would perch just out of reach but within striking distance of her nest, lest I be tempted to mess with her nest.
On Friday, the eggs were replaced by three ugly, scrawny, fuzzy baby birds. On Saturday, when I peeked into the nest, those ugly, scrawny little birds were stretching their necks and opening wide their mouths, in anticipation of their next meal. I expected the mother robin to zoom back to her babies as soon as I walked away, but as I stood behind the glass doors in the fellowship hall and watched, no mother bird appeared. I did some work in my office, and came back to check on the birds—still no mother bird. Right before I left the church, I checked again—no mother bird on the nest. It was hot outside, and late in the day. I began to be concerned about those little birds. What if the mother robin had met with some unfortunate accident? What if some human (not me!) had touched the nest and because of the human smell, the mother bird refused to return to the birds? I imagined those three newborn birds alone in their nest. I wondered if other birds—another robin or a cardinal or even a noisy bluejay—would hear those tiny peeps and come feed those motherless birds?
I had enough to distract me on Sunday that I didn’t think much about the baby birds. Monday came, and when I went to church, I stood behind the glass doors and watched the fir tree with the nest in it. From where I was, I could see the little orange beaks stretching up, opened wide. No mother bird! My heart sank, fearing those little birds had been abandoned. Then after what seemed like a long time, I spotted the mother robin. She was hopping on the ground nearby, and suddenly, she flew straight into the fir tree, onto the nest. Now I could breathe a sigh of relief!
This bird-watching scenario made me think. . I saw the nest of little birds and worried about them, but I know that there are nests everywhere, in all sorts of trees and sometimes baby birds are left vulnerable and helpless, they are orphaned when a parent bird is killed or blown out of the nest by high winds. No human is keeping an eye out for them. No one is worrying on their behalf.
It’s like that in the non-bird world. It’s natural to worry about those whom we can see or whose lives regularly bump up against ours, but there are so many “baby birds” we don’t see or hear about. There are adults who are alone and hurting, or children who are left unprotected but are out of sight and therefore out of mind.
We worship a God who knows even when a sparrow falls, a God who clothes and feeds the birds of the air, and because we who love that God, we follow God’s example. We cannot see all the folks who are in need, but we can catch them up in our prayers every day. We can learn to keep our eyes open for those who are unprotected. We can watch out for the weaker ones, as we go about our daily tasks. We can spend our lives feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the nake, visiting the sick and those in prison, loving the least of these who are members of God’s family, for the sake of Christ our Lord.


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