Another Time (A Poem)
Love and Grief

Cardinals

Cardeat_1 I missed this, but my wife didn't.  A couple of days ago she was watching out of our back window and saw two cardinals, male and female, out in the pine straw feeding on the seeds that fall off the bird feeder.  Nothing unusual there.  But then this:  The male cardinal picked up a seed, carried it over to the female who was several feet away, and carefully placed it in her mouth (beak).  Now that's instructive!

I have no idea what the dynamics of the bird relationship are, but animal behavior is surely used by God to instruct us, to create pictures of what faithful living looks like.  There is good precedent.  Celebrating the provision of God, the Psalmist said "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young -- a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God" (Ps. 84:3).  Jesus said "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storehouse or barn; yet God feeds them" (Lk. 12:24).  And then: "Consider how the lilies grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon was dressed like one of these (Lk. 12:27).  Sparrows, ravens, lilies -- God uses the Creation to give us word pictures of faithful living.

I think what the cardinals reminded us of that day was the care of one spouse for another, or a friend for another friend -- an incarnation, if you will of Philippians 2:4:  "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." 

There isn't a thing in Creation that is not speaking to us.  We just need to look hard and consider what it's saying, being patient until it gives up its meaning.

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