One day last month, my furnace needed some work. When I called to make an appointment for the repair, I was given a window of time when I could expect the service person to arrive, with a promise that he would call when he was on the way to my house. When the call came, I was in the middle of about five different tasks that seemed pretty important to me. But as it turned out, the interruption provided an unexpected moment of grace.
After welcoming the repairman inside my home and showing him where the furnace was, I went back upstairs so he could do his work. I sat out in our sunroom, and noticed a couple of sparrows exploring the birdhouse near our vegetable garden. It was a cold day. The birdhouse was capped with snow. Yet, here were these two sparrows busily preparing for spring. I couldn’t take my eyes off them. A half hour or so with the birds made all those “important” tasks seem a lot less urgent.
Two bird feeders also hang from a tree outside the windows of the church offices. They have attracted cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees, sparrows, goldfinches, juncos, blue jays, and woodpeckers. Sometimes, all these species show up at once and put on a show. When that happens, all our work on the other side of the windows stops.
I’m not making this up. Jesus really did say, “Look at the birds!” (Matthew 6:26). I confess that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to birds until recently. Now, I am discovering the wisdom of Jesus’ admonition.
It’s so easy to get all knotted up over the steady stream of troubling news and fret about all the cares and concerns that confront us every day. But it is just as easy to be set right again by gazing at these marvelous creatures that adorn our world, remembering what Jesus said: “They neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”
As spring makes its return, I recommend looking at the birds.
Below are pictures of several varieties of birds taken through a window in the church office (with a long lens!).
©2017 by J. Mark Lawson