by Caryl Moll
Today I’d like to tell you about a little quirk of mine that has become quite central to my life during the many months of lockdown.
Some of you will know that I absolutely LOVE birds – all of them! For the past couple of years, whenever I hear or see any bird, I am stopped in my tracks. They have become a constant reminder of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit. Please don’t get me wrong, I DON’T think birds are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. They are merely constant reminders that “GOD IS NEAR”; that “HE CARES FOR US ALL”, and that that there are always lessons to learn about life.
There have been odd occasions, during church services, when I’ve become distracted by the “twittering from the sanctuary’s rafters”. I’ve stifled giggles when the Mynahs have almost over-powered the sermon. Sometimes the gaggles of the guinea fowl – from the open plot next to the church – have led to my distraction. At these times, I resolve to meditate and revert into silent prayer;
“Thank you Lord for filling this place with your presence… Thank you especially for the birds you have created and the meaning they bring to my life. Thank you for reminding me that you are always with me.”
At home, in the early mornings, we are often woken by the sweet melodies of the Karoo thrushes outside our bedroom window. Sometimes we lie in and watch the smaller finches through the glass. They love to dust themselves off in the leaves of the Lemon-scented- Verbena bush. It’s a rustic effort to rid themselves of mites – ingenious!
The bird feeder in my garden has become a strong source of “entertainment” over lockdown. We actively encourage birds to visit us during this time and we learn a lot from them too. Every morning they receive a tray of delectable offerings. Some birds wait in the branches above my head while I put the food out for them. Some call when I am late with their breakfast.
There are so many Biblical texts about birds – from the Creation account, to the various symbolism and analogies in the various books of the Bible. (Just do a search and you will see how significant God views the birds.) He even reminds us that we have so much to learn from them. Yes, one of my favourite passages is:
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25)
From the dullish LBJ’s (Little Brown jobs) to the elaborate Turacos and the very common Hadedah Ibises, I am innately drawn to them. I marvel at their ability to fly and to adapt to whatever environment they find themselves in. Survival is uppermost for them as they make the most of life. Some migratory birds fly up to 5000km across continents to follow the seasons. Some penguins swim up to 1000km. They all have an internal clock which humans battle to understand. Some birds are predatory, others clean up the landscape, some are simply seed-eaters and others are cultivated for our own food.
So let’s lift our eyes, away from our cellphones and computer, and begin to take in all the amazing aspects of our God’s creation. Perhaps you’ll notice something you’ve never seen before. And perhaps it will become the lesson you need to learn today.
With love, in Christ