I have been following the SSJE “Growing a Rule of Life” study during Lent. Thus far, it has been a lovely metaphor of how my relationship with nature and practices within it parallel that of our relationship with God. Today, I was asked to “pick something in God’s creation to consider” and reflect upon it. I immediately thought of birds. It’s interesting in that I purport a fear of birds, but I actually love (most of) them. I dislike big black crows and turkey buzzards that, while important to the food chain, remind me of Tippy Hedron being attacked in Hitchcock’s The Birds. However, my affinity for most other birds was developed in me through my dad. And this affinity has stuck with me for a lifetime.
As a child, we would pack up the binoculars and go bird watching–looking for a variety of birds within our particular outing. It was not uncommon to hear the words, “Oh look, a hawk” during a car ride; all eyes in the car darting up to look at the golden creature atop a power line. Each of the Thomas girls has a keen eye for spotting a woodpecker, a blue jay, or a heron before most would even blink. And now, in my new home of Montgomery, observing the long-tailed mockingbirds in my front yard brings delight.
So how is this a metaphor for my relationship with God? Jesus said, “Consider the Ravens.” The word consider is the important one here. From the Latin-considerare-to observe closely. As I observe the birds of the air (or the lilies of the field), I gain a connection to the creation made by God. These intricate, graceful, beautiful, and intelligent animals breeze through the air as a marvel of physics and perch ever so daintily on teeny wires and posts. They are, for me, something to behold in reverence. As one watches birds, one gains a keen eye for detail, an intrinsic sense of patience, and an appreciation for silence. In walking with God, God can be found in the details, in the silence, and in the moments of wonder and delight. However, I must observe keenly to find God in these things.
Just this morning, as I was in the middle of this study, I stepped on to the porch for a brief moment. I looked up to find a feathered friend, perching for a rest on a wire. We considered one another for a while, and hence this meditation was born. And in that moment, God reminded me that it is so deeply important to take time to consider. To be a keen observer of nature, of people, and within we will find God.