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Monday, May 2, 2016

Birds, songs and stories

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I love birds. I love their songs in the morning and their lullabies at night. I love to watch the soaring hawks and eagles and I delight in translating their busy chatter as they go about their daily bird business. I learned to speak bird from the bird family that built their nest in the drive-through window at a Brighton, Colorado bank. I made the daily deposits for the food service department, and idled away my workday's end, waiting in line. The birds were hard at work refurbishing their nest, and the male would take off to the east, swooping low and fast, scanning the open lot across the street as he flew. Soon, he would return, twig, string or straw in his beak. Almost as soon as he entered the nest, the piece of building material would come floating down. That's when the female would put in an appearance, with plenty on her mind. She soon ceases her chatter and takes flight, to the east, across the same landscape. Papa bird is hot on her trail, eager to fetch whatever treasure captures her fancy. I've spoken bird ever since.

Birds are skittish creatures and with good reason. I'm concerned that BooBoo may be honing his hunting skills after his recent lengthy, and hungry, solitary confinement. I don't want to bell the cat, but I will. He is more than sufficiently fed.

Haili and Maddy are always eager to feed the geese at Barnett Park, but even though the geese learn early and well that these strange creatures - somehow different, yet the same - bring bread nearly every day, they don't get too close and when you release the bread crumbs, they flinch even as they dart forward to claim the prize.

How like those birds Israel was, those many millennia ago, when manna came from heaven, and God spoke from the mountain top. Skitter out to get the manna, but not too close to the pillar of smoke, or to the flames that illuminated the nomads as they traveled. The entire concept of God was one of fear and awe and utter dependence, also an altogether frightening concept for many.

Yet Moses approached God without fear, traveling up the mountainside, though he was far from young anymore, to learn from God and to bring the Word of the Lord to the People of the Lord.

And the Word was good. God is. God lives. God loves. And God alone is good. The whole of human history, some 6,000 plus years, prove it out.

But we remained like those birds. Fear, not faith, defined us, and we've only a few stories about those whose faith overcame fear, to even know that such a thing is possible.

And so, in the fullness of time, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, offering himself - his life, his blood, his sacrifice - to bring us to the place where faith replaces fear and we begin to truly live.

He didn't remain high on a mountaintop, he didn't thunder from on high. He lived in the very midst of us, touching and teaching each one, from the greatest to the least. Though gentle in spirit, he spoke as one with authority, using our own language, having learned it in his infancy. And he became part of our story, even as he changed the storyline, forever.

His story; your story; our story; is still being told. He is still touching and teaching, as one with authority. Search him out. Scan the fields, test each teaching, find the treasure that can be found while it may yet be found. And when you've found your place in his story, then you, like Frances J. Crosby, will also have a story to tell.

"Tell me the story of Jesus,

Write on my heart every word;

Tell me the story most precious,

Sweetest that ever was heard."

Our stories may be harrowing, the journey fraught with peril, yet, this is not a place for fear. God is willing that each one of us draw close to him, before the author and finisher of our faith says "It is done." (Revelation 21:6)

"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." Revelation 22:17 (NIV)

I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him together.


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