By Dennis Rainey
Birds of a Feather
Sheltering in place has resulted in some incredible surprises and fascinating moments. So I decided that I’d keep this short today and share a living parable that was a genuine “WOW!” and offer an observation or two.
One morning a few weeks ago I was taking some time to reflect and pray, and I noticed some significant movement out of the corner of my eyes. I quickly turned to look out the window where a significant flurry of activity was occurring.
It was a flock of blackbirds. Starlings were gliding by my windows by the dozens … at least I thought it was dozens. I’m not sure why, but I grabbed my iPhone and slowly moved toward the window.
At this point you need to know we live on the edge of a forest of oaks and pines, a green belt, that completely surrounds a lake that is over ten miles long. We see a good bit of wild game—deer, squirrels, C-130s (from the Air Force Base, training missions) and birds. LOTS of birds. But never this many … and we’ve been living out here since 1983!
As I moved closer to the window I could see hundreds of blackbirds landing and milling about in the forest floor right outside our window. I couldn’t take it all in. I turned my camera on video and edged closer to window and the convention that had assembled long before I noticed that first flicker of wings.
Then they spotted me. You just can’t sneak up when thousands of eyes are on the lookout!
I wish I’d been outside because even from inside the house the sounds flurry of wings resembled a plane taking off.
Watch it … in slow motion!
As I watched the crescendo, black wave after black wave ascended though the pines. Our forest was suddenly redecorated in an explosion of black.
Standing there I thought … why here? Why now? I wondered how many birds had landed in our neck of the woods? 100,000? Over a million? I have no idea
Then I thought of the age old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Did they ever! A fresh parable for those of us
Now four weeks later, I’m watching America “open up.” And the parable is taking flight. The evening news reports that people aren’t congregating in Major League Baseball parks, but on beaches and in bars.
Even though some of the places are definitely not safe, still we want to be together. Zoom has helped, but we are finding that a screen can’t replace the preeminence of face to face. NASCAR raced to a TV audience on Sunday and this past Wednesday, in an effort to get back on schedule, but the fans aren’t allowed in the stands, yet. Others are breaking out their lawn chairs with a half dozen of their neighbors to meet (6’ apart) on their driveways … just to talk, face to face.
And one has to wonder when we’ll be all having hot dogs and peanuts together at a baseball game or in a football stadium? It’s just not the same in your living room. We want the experience of being with people.
Clearly, the parable of the blackbirds reflects that our Creator crafted us for relationships. With Him … and with one another. Birds of a feather, flock together.
As I reflected on the parable, my mind raced back to a conversation with a pastor of one of the leading churches in America. Self-described as being a lighthouse in a high-risk community, he confirmed that they aren’t sure when they’ll open up. Still, he knows, true believers want to experience worship with one another.
We want to be together. It’s the positive side of peer pressure.
We need to be wise, patient and prayerful. Why not lead your family in asking God to protect your family, to heal those who are ill and give us victory over this evil plague that threatens our land. And pray for God’s favor and that we can get out and safely enjoy one another soon.
A bird of a different feather,
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