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Root & Vine in the Word

In the Word: The Birds of the Air

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:26-27 

I’ve taken to spending an inordinate amount of time watching birds. Now that it’s spring, I can’t help but obsess over any and all fluttering flyers who pass by. If one makes a sound, I must drop everything to spot the bird that trilled. I unlock my phone, zoom in, and aim, as if capturing a photo could ever do this moment justice. Also, no one else cares that I have a blue jay in my cherry tree. Just me, I am the only one. But you must see this bird!

I’ve noticed that — as much as birdsong pulls me out of whatever it is I’m trying to focus on — it is not distracting in the way that sirens, traffic, or construction noise rattle my senses. As I’m writing this, there’s a siren blaring now, and my muscles have tensed. My brow is furrowed in worry. What tragedy sparked such a racket at this hour? This kind of noise is dissonance that disrupts whatever harmony exists.

When the birds sing, they distract me from my daily clawing and climb to snag and secure my corner of earth and remind me: who by worrying can add a single hour to their lives? Who by worrying can shut off the siren? Instead, the songs of birds pull me from my personal reverie to sing my own song of prayer and praise to the God of the Universe, who promises, are you not much more valuable than they? 

In an attempt to take yet another terrible phone photo of the blue jay this morning, I admired how it trembles and sighs at the joy of just living, just taking flight in this beautiful, chaotically noisy and terrifying world.

Points of Reflection

  1. What are common sources of anxiety in your life? How do these verses invite you to navigate beyond those daily anxieties? 
  2. What symbol or icon, living or not, exists in your life that can remind you of God’s provision and love?

For the Kids

  1. What is your favorite animal? Research more about your favorite animal with your parent(s) or guardian(s) to learn how God provides for it.
  2. What do you worry about? How do today’s verses make you feel about worry and God’s love?

Action

Choose your favorite artistic medium and do your best to capture the icon that reminds you of God’s love and provision. You could use photography, watercolor paint, acrylics, clay, pencils, crayon, poetry, or song. Don’t worry so much about the quality of your work, create for the sheer joy of joining in with our Creator in the work of creation!

Readings

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle invites artists to explore the mysterious relationship between art and faith, to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation by creating. L’Engle’s work was like living water for me in my early years of trying to figure out how to meld my faith with my writing.

Listen or read online through your local library’s Libby app, or buy on Amazon.com or through a local independent bookstore near you.

See? See? A blue jay! You’re just as excited as me, I can sense it.