Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Where All Are Equal

It’s the thing of air traffic controllers’ nightmares—everyone landing or taking off at once, wingtip to wingtip, swerving, diving, changing course erratically. But this is no convention of crazed pilots, just a newly filled birdfeeder, for now the most popular bird hangout in the neighborhood.

I find it fascinating, this fusion of flutter and festivity, of feast and flurry. One moment the visitors may be all of one family. The next, three or four varieties play musical perches to an unheard melody. Their mannerisms vary as much as their sizes and color schemes. Some are bold; some timid. Some come and go quickly; others stay for a second helping. But all have one thing in common. They have all come to be fed.

It is said that when the “Iron Duke,” Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, returned from his great victory at Waterloo, he entered a grand cathedral and, making his way to the front, he knelt to receive communion. Soon a poor old man in rags also made his way to the rail and knelt beside the Duke.

Immediately, a vestryman approached the old man, touched him on the shoulder and whispered to him, “Say, my man, come away from there. Don’t you realize that is the Duke you are jostling?”

But before the man could rise, the great commander reached out a hand to prevent him from leaving. “Stay, my friend,” he said. “There are no Dukes at the foot of the cross.”

God has made each of us a unique being. Our stations in life may differ greatly in the eyes of the world. In appearance, in personality, in every way that man may use to separate us we may be as varied as the birds of the air. But when we come together at the foot of the cross, when we commune together around the Lord’s Table, when we lift our hearts and voices together in praise we are on level ground. We have one thing in common: we have all come to be fed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trust in the Provider

Dawn, and the fog’s gray curtain silently lifted on the drama of a new day. Frosty branches glistened, tiny diamonds catching the first rays of the morning sun. Still in my slippers, I braced myself for the nippy air, stepped outside the back door, and cautiously crunched my way across the frozen deck to the bird feeder.

A scattering of dropped seeds littered the area beneath the feeder. In the midst of them was one very small bird, just a tiny, fuzzy ball attempting to ward off the cold while partaking of the abundant feast. It hadn’t flown off like the other birds, and I was concerned for the little creature when it showed no sign of fear as I approached. I moved slowly, trying not to frighten it. But suspecting that it must be injured, I extended my hand toward the tiny ball of fluff. Still the little guy hardly moved, but just looked up at me with trusting eyes. Reaching down, I gently stroked its amazingly soft back. Still it remained still.

By now I was convinced it must be hurt, and I stopped petting it. But when I did, the little bird flew with ease up to the railing of the deck. As it sat there waiting for me, I laughed, walked over to it and petted it some more. It actually seemed to enjoy it, but a moment later, my “injured” bird flew off the railing, soaring gracefully across the yard to the icy branch of a nearby tree.

I was still smiling as I returned to the warmth of the house, amazed that this beautiful creature would have been so trusting as to let me enjoy such a special moment with it. And I thought to myself,
how the Creator must smile with joy when he finds us shivering in the cold of this world, and we quietly pause to acknowledge our trust in Him, take pleasure in His gentle, warm touch, and give thanks for His abundant provision.