For the Birds

posted on March 30

For the Birds
 
“…let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.”
-Genesis 1:20
 
When I think of all I hope to remember positively about this time in history, I think about the birds. Frankly, I have paid a lot more attention to them than I usually do. I was already a fan, as I have five wild bird feeders in my yard, a birdbath I have carried from house to house for decades, and my first batch of hummingbird nectar cooling by the stove as I write this. My mother loved birds. She suffered with COPD later in life, and sometimes sitting on the porch listening to “her birds” was a solace and welcome distraction from her breathing treatments. My sisters and I still enjoy her bird feeders, bird houses, and many bird-themed decorations.
 
I think my mother loved birds because they were both vulnerable and free at the same time. They were subject to struggle, just as we are, but their freedom is beyond anything we can imagine; they sail “across the dome of the sky” with no restrictions. Jesus knew of their freedom, and their fragility. He even used them as an example in the Sermon on the Mount:
 
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet their heavenly father feeds them.” (Matthew 6:26)
 
Imagine the outdoor setting of this great Sermon; Jesus might have gently pointed upward to make his point. Perhaps they were flying overhead, even as he spoke. They live with great trust - laboring and resting, never hoarding and worrying.
 
We too need only look in the mirror to see another image of vulnerability and freedom. We are vulnerable to this virus, and free to choose our best paths of well-being. Some are able to be well-quarantined, and some are on the front lines every single day. We appreciate you more than you may ever know.  
 
It has been our privilege to respond to your needs, address your concerns, and offer the support of our United Methodist connection. We don’t want to overwhelm you with more to read, watch, or do – but we want you to know we are here for you daily.
 
While we first meet the birds of the air in Genesis 1:20, we don’t see the last of them until the very end of the Bible. They literally “fly” through the pages of holy scripture, with over 128 references!  Our last look at them is in Revelation 19, in a sweeping vision of the defeat of all evil, told from the point of view of an angel standing in the sun. From beginning to end, the birds fly freely above us.
 
And thankfully, they fly over us in the meantime, and Jesus gently reminds us they too need a place to rest. His suggestion is that they might perch in the trees that bloom from our own faith, the faith of a mustard seed. The Kingdom of God is like this:
 
“It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” (Luke 13:19)
 
I will continue to pray for you each and every day, that the seeds of your faith might grow and grow in such a way that a bird can perch on the branches of the strength you have found in God, in each other, and in the ways that our Kingdom has come to life during this time in our history. Enjoy (and emulate) the birds.
 
Love and Peace to All,
 
Bev Coppley
District Superintendent
 
 

For the Birds
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