Would you call great prophets to proclaim such vital truths? God did try that means of communication. It met with limited success. Prophets have a tendency to be a bit fickle (think Jonah); a way of getting themselves killed by the very people they are sent to guide. Even the Son of God was crucified for the message of Kingdom of God that he proclaimed.
The messengers, whoever they might be, must be able to attract the attention and fascination of busy, easily distracted audiences. They must be adaptable to change; resilient enough to survive opposition of varying types.
Jesus taught that the “Kingdom of God is at hand.” Right here, right now. Maybe the presence of God is hidden in plain sight in the wonders of creation. Maybe we seek a God who can be known by looking more closely at nature, which seems to be a bit more in tune with the Creator than we tend to be.
Jesus often turned to lessons from nature when trying to impart spiritual lessons. Whether it was a tiny mustard seed which represented faith or lilies of the field which model freedom from anxiety, Jesus saw abundant spiritual lessons in creation.
This Lenten Season, we will be directed by Jesus as we focus on our spiritual journey of life-long faith development. Specifically, we will be thinking about the words of Christ in Matthew’s Gospel, “Behold the fowls of the air.”
Think about it. How better to get our attention than with flying colors that fill the sky? Or songs that rise with the sun? Who hasn’t been fascinated by birds? We feed them by our windows in the winter. We long to have their wings on which we may fly above our limitations. But, are they trying to tell us something? The language Jesus uses implies that birds are more than mere amusements. He is calling, actually commanding us, to look at the birds in order to see and be guided by the spiritual lessons they teach us. I know, I know. How can we learn something from a “bird brain”? Recent study of birds is indicating that bird brains are actually highly developed in their own way. How do migratory birds find their way? How do birds find hidden caches of food placed in multiple places months after being stored? Some birds are known for their ability to fashion and use tools. And talk about resilient! Birds outlived their predecessors, the dinosaurs, and they did so by becoming smaller. (Yet one has to wonder if birds can adapt quickly enough to survive the attacks being leveled on them by “developing humankind”)
I hope you will join us for this year’s Lenten Study as we “Look to the Birds” as our spiritual guides. They have lessons to teach us. A weekly theme will be presented in worship each Sunday and explored further each Tuesday night in the Lenten Study where we will focus on a different bird. There will also be some “field trips” along the way where we will have the opportunity to get a better look at our feathered friends.
First Week of Lent: Season of Return—Homing and Migratory Birds
Second Week of Lent: Season of Wandering—Quail
Third Week of Lent: Season of Trust—Sparrow
Fourth Week of Lent: Season of Hope—Crane and Eagle
Fifth Week of Lent: Season of Sanctuary—Hen
Palm Sunday: Season of Peace—Dove
Good Friday: Season of Death—Vulture