Friday, November 4, 2011

up with the birds


I've been thinking a lot about birds lately.

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving just outside the city, and hundreds of small birds sprung up from the fields on either side of the highway and flew in formation over my car.  The formation was not elegant or functional like that of geese.  These sparrows flew like an impressionist painting, seemingly random spots against a giant blue canvas that all made sense when put together.

It struck me in that moment that birds are not incredibly energy efficient.  I am not talking about their metabolism, which surely accommodates the intake of their sustenance and the energy required to fly.  What I mean is that they often seem to be flying for no particular reason at all, almost as if they fly just to beautify the skies.

If I had wings, I suppose I would fly all the time too, but I doubt the birds really know what a marvel it is to cast off gravity release the bonds of earth.  They do not seem to comprehend the physics required for their wings to take to the wind.  They just fly.  I wonder if they could speak, when asked why they fly, if their answer might be, "Because we're birds."

I have never seen a lazy bird, and I find that kind of odd.  Presumably, one must exist but apparently not in the same abundant supplies as drowsy dogs or quiescent cats.  Sure, birds sit atop telephone wires, but there has to be an easier way to unwind.  If I watched television perched on a balance beam, I would be able to brush my teeth in the morning without my middle jiggling along in rhythm.

That drive made me think about when Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31, ESV)

I am not one of those people who thinks God opens up parking spots in front of Costco for us to remind us that He loves us, but I do wonder why He made birds the way He did.  Did Jesus look around and see birds as a relevant example to what he was teaching, or did God create birds to be a perfect example of His unending providence?

I don't know, but I'll bet the next time you see a bird, you might look at it a little bit differently.

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