The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

I heard an unusual noise in the house and didn’t think much of it. I assumed that the mail had been delivered. I kept working. I had a full day ahead of me and I knew when I had to be where and what I was doing. These sorts of days don’t really plan for the untoward. I heard another noise, ignored it, kept working, and when finished, I got ready to leave and walked into the conservatory. The blackbird was on the windowsill looking at me – on the inside windowsill. I stopped and looked back. Now the noises made sense!

I sighed. Not in the plan. I talked to the bird. ‘What are you doing here? It’s time to leave.’ I talked to God, ‘Please talk to the bird’, as I opened the skylights and the door, and removed the door curtain and then stood so that the bird would have to fly past me to go into the house which was the last thing I wanted. ‘Time to leave.’ I was hoping the breeze would help it leave. The bird simply looked at me. So I moved my arms slowly and walked towards the bird. It decided to fly up the glass and then across to the other side of the conservatory and onto the big mirror. It looked at itself. ‘Ah, God, I’d like to go now and the bird needs to leave. How about some help here?’

I went close to the bird and it flew into the house and onto the piano. I went close to the piano and it few onto top of the bay window at the other end of the house. I was chuckling. ‘God, now would be a good time, for the bird to simply fly through the house and out the door.’ The bird looked at me. I went and got the long stick that opens the skylight and went back to the bird and put the end of the stick at its feet. ‘C’mon, hop on!’ After a few goes of me talking to it, ‘you can do it’, and me brushing its feet, it hopped on! Now its flapping to stay on and I’m wondering where it’s going fly next as I slowly start walking through the house to the door. ‘You can do it!’ I dodge the furniture. I try and keep the stick as ‘smooth’ as possible. It’s flapping away, looking at me. Then I’m outside! Don’t fly back in. ‘What a team we are!’ I say as it flies off. I laugh. ‘Good one, God, thank you.’

Anyone hearing this might conclude that there is a God or that there isn’t a God. My prayers were answered – and yet they weren’t answered specifically as per my request. This was just a few minutes of my life which would confirm whatever anyone already believes. Yes, there is a God. No, there isn’t – this was a coincidence – there are other explanations. Ok, there maybe other explanations but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a God. And the discussion continues.

It is the perspective – or the faith – that one brings to the moment that genuinely affects how we live. Everyone lives by faith of some kind – by a trust in a worldview or perspective even if it has no deities in it. Christians, by definition, have faith in the Triune God but for many of them the reality and validity of that faith is in their feelings, what they experience, how life works for them (usually with prayers answered and good things which we call blessings). Lutherans do experience living – it is full of feelings – but when it comes to faith and spirituality, we look to something external – Jesus, the Word of God, Baptism, Holy Communion which declares to us truth and reality which we incorporate into our days, our moments, our experiences. Yes, I thanked God for my moment with the bird but that experience doesn’t define or guarantee my faith. The experience confirms what I already believe that God is with me to help me and that I am to grow in trusting him whether he answers my prayers the way I want or not. And that trust is anchored to a cross. This faith is not for the birds! 😉