I was sitting on my front porch swing the other morning while slowly drinking my last cup of coffee. I was doing my best to eke out a little more time for myself to sit and enjoy the beautiful weather before the official day started.
As the coffee cup warmed my palms I glanced over at the birdfeeders and noticed the wide variety of birds not always seen in South Carolina at my birdfeeders. It seems they were on their way north, fleeing the coming heat, and they decided to stop off for a bit of breakfast at my house. You see, I have always loved birds, and I try to keep plenty of food on hand for them should they decide to come by to visit for a spell. If God ever created a glass half full creature, it had to be the birds. They start singing at the first sign of light and keep at it all day long until dusk, and then the mockers take the night shift. I suppose the vultures might be an exception, but then again every rule has to have one
I counted no less than five different species of birds that morning at my feeders. There was the common house sparrow with an attitude that proves he doesn't consider himself common. A group of them had set up a parameter around one of the feeders daring anybody to challenge them. I saw a pair of cardinals with the male dressed up in his finest regalia and his mate dressed in her plain house frock following close behind. There were a couple a chickadees tittering about looking for all the world like they were ready for a night on the town with their black hats and ties. The most abundant by far were the cedar waxwings. They look a little sinister with their black masks, but they seemed to get along pretty well just the same. An entire flock of them had descended upon the woods which surround my house. This added a bit of bedlam to the peaceful morning. It was a melodious bedlam though, so I didn't mind. Finally there was a small group of yellow finches with their bright yellow bodies set off against their black and white wings.
It was truly a smorgasbord of sight and sound and a pleasure to observe. As I watched the interplay between the various species and the individuals themselves, I was surprised to note that for the most part they got along pretty well. They all wanted the same thing. They wanted a tasty sunflower seed and a quiet place to enjoy it. They wanted to fill their bellies so they could be on their way.
As I watched I noticed that even the sparrows would yield a little space if needed for a waxwing or two to grab a seed and go. While watching I also noticed that some of the older birds would not only yield their perches but would actually give seeds to the younger birds around them. At first I simply thought that these were the adults feeding their chicks until I remembered that it was February and nesting was at least a month down the road. Then, to my surprise, I watched as a cedar waxwing gently gave a seed to a yellow finch on the perch beneath. Perhaps the bird was confused by the chaos all around, but it was truly wonderful to see nonetheless, and it got me to thinking. If birds can do it, why can't we?
As I observed all of these birds, of various species, work out their differences in such a way that all were fed and strengthened for the journey ahead, I was left to wonder why is it that the Body of Christ can't seem to do the same thing half the time.
With a dark world in desperate need of the light of Christ right outside the door, those of us within spend far too much of our time trying to decide which brand of match and what color candle should be used. And while thanks be to God the world is ignorant of most of this, it is still left hungering for the "fruit of the spirit." The world is still starving for the love that Christ and Christ alone offers.
While we within the church may be waxwings, cardinals and chickadees, we all rest under the comforting wings of Jesus Christ, and we need to remember that our differences pale in comparison to the desperate need which is waiting right outside our door.
Our love for Christ and one another is what nourishes us as we prepare for the journey ahead. It is what strengthens us for the task before us. It is what empowers us to overlook our differences as we focus on the Cross of Christ and the sacrifice and love that Cross represents.
We all have a job to do and we must let nothing stand in our way, not even ourselves, for "the harvest is great and workers are few."