Consider: The Ravens

2 08 2010

Part 6 of “Consider This”

Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings.

Victor Hugo

Yesterday morning I sat on my lawn-chair and a Robin hopped by on the grass with a lime-green worm as big as my finger in its beak. I don’t even know how that Robin managed to hold on to it because the worm was flipping around, protesting its capture something fierce! But the bird puffed out its crimson chest, oblivious to the worm’s displeasure, thrilled that it had found the mother-load. The bird flew off with its catch and would have a fine feast of it somewhere with its family (though undoubtedly some chick would beak off, “Not green worm again, I don’t like green worm” and the dad would say, “You’ll eat it and you’ll like it!”).

The Bible calls us to

“consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap…” (Luke 12:24 NIV)

Humans don’t do nearly as well as the birds, living on a wing and a prayer. To be like that Robin, without cupboards, would stress most of us out.

Is it possible that we can forget what freedom tastes like and come to fear it, rather than long for it?  Can we come to actually treat open spaces with suspicion, preferring the cage over the sky?  I wonder if we build “bird-houses” because it makes us uncomfortable that they don’t? Is having a floor and four walls so important to us, that the thought of gliding over the treetops fills us with dread rather than amazement?

What words do we assign to our present experiences? Are they descriptive of trust or apprehension?

Remember the children of Israel in the desert?  Just now it occurred to me that the word we use for their experience is “wandering.” But if you were in the mix, knowing that someone was taking care of your every need, wouldn’t “holidaying” be a better description? The whole thing started with a campfire experience, with just the right amount of getting-there stories to recount later, good weather every day and, better than better, not once did they have to run into town for food or drink; they were fed morning and night by God himself. God wasn’t even subtle: cloud by day, pillar of fire by night; it wasn’t like God went away and they were wondering if He would come back.

So why were they so stressed out?

The Israelites in the desert didn’t see any beauty in it. They weren’t pinching themselves saying, “Can you believe it?” Instead, they sat by their tents at night worrying, “My life is going nowhere.”

  • Where is “there” and “nowhere?”
  • Where is where we ought to be not where we could be?
  • What is stable and unstable?
  • What does predictable give you that unpredictable doesn’t give you more of?
  • Is having something in your hand so much better than seeing how it gets there?

Consider the birds, they do not sow or reap; they have no storehouse or barn; yet God feeds them. And Jesus says, “you are so much more valuable than birds” (Luke 12:24). Is Jesus saying quit everything; just check out? No, He follows up His statement with: Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

So yes, quit something: quit worrying.

God is calling me to not only be OK with “not knowing” everything, but to actually relish it. Consider the birds that swoop and glide and occasionally seem suspended in mid-air, caught in some sort of up-draft; they sing for no reason, bathe in whatever puddle they can find and only create enough of a nest to rest in.  Consider this.

Like us, they have a beginning of a story and an end of a story, but the whole middle is being written as we live. The whole middle is all about where we find ourselves, and who can say where that will be? Birds venture out. We need to consider venturing out…

Venture

1 : to expose to risk
2 : to face the risks and dangers of
3 : to go ahead in spite of danger

Yes, like the birds, God wants to add “venture” to our vocabulary and our experience (adventure, you see?) and quit making up dangers as an excuse to stay indoors. Quit worrying; God is with us and as P.D. James said, “God gives every bird his worm, but He does not throw it into the nest.”

— Teresa Klassen

Afterword: I could have taken this blog in 10 different directions because birds are amazing! There are 10,000 (plus) species of birds in our world.  Picture God’s imagination run wild and you have: birds. Take an hour and Google, “pictures of birds;” I don’t even know how to describe the experience. If a picture paints a thousand words, here are a 5,000 words in 5 pictures (5 out of 10,000 pictures…imagine!):

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