Real Church. Real Life. Real Celebration.

The Marlboro Bird

My recent outing to the Tallulah Gorge hiking trails with my family culminated in a wondrous sight. There empty_nestupon the slender blades of grass beneath a tree was a perfect bird’s nest. There were, however, no eggs in it. As I reached to pick it up, I hoped that the family had escaped the fate of a blustery wind or the imagination of a child with a slingshot pretending to slay Goliath in the tree.

There was something strange there though. Down near the bottom, I noticed oddly symmetrical (but familiar) rectangles. I immediately identified them as cigarette butts stripped of the paper cover! The bird had placed them along the bottom of the nest to provide a delicate and luxurious bed for her babies.  She didn’t pause for a moment to consider the original intended purpose of her building materials.

If you look closely you will see God’s Kingdom woven through the sticks and grass and nicotine-soaked cotton. Birds and bees, flowers and trees gather all they require for life, whether we see the materials as life-giving or not.  This is opposite the view of “rational” men who try to convince us that you cannot bring life out of death, that chaos is inevitable, and that disorder and death rule this planet.

Will we recognize the potential for life in the seemingly death-filled circumstances around us? Will we see life within ourselves, even when we have fallen? Can we take what the enemy meant for harm and turn it for good? The Mother Bird reordered the intended function of the cigarette butts and created life from death in the bottom of her nest. Let’s learn from her wisdom.

(First published 05.04.08)


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