Mr. and Mrs. Vee

posted Apr 30, 2021, 7:54 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Blessings of Easter joy be with you!


Well, beloved MRC family, you may think I have gone too far with my love of animals this time. 


But, maybe not. 


On my prayer-walks, I pass by a small abandoned building. I have done so many times and have given it little thought until one day I saw two rather large birds sitting on its roof — two black vultures. Curious, I went closer to get a better look at them. They didn’t seem bothered by my presence, and I didn’t find them menacing, because well, I wasn’t dead, and they like to eat dead things. I talked to them softly, as they lazily looked down on me. Now granted, vultures are certainly not the most beautiful of creatures that God has created, but one must admit, they are very useful, cleaning up the rotting things we find abhorrent. 


The next time I went walking I was hoping I would see them again. Sure enough, there they were in their spot. I repeated what I did before, walking over and talking to them. I took notice of their great size, their blue tinged faces. Again, they’re not very pretty, but when they soar, they are majestic. These meetings went on for several days until I realized they probably had a nest in the area.


Last week Jamie said, “You’re never going to believe what I saw walking around in the backyard between the house and the garage.”


“What?” I asked.


“A black vulture,” he said.


I couldn’t help but smile. Had one of them returned the favor of my visits by coming to see where I lived? I would like to think so.


Determined to find their nest, I went over to their area this week, looking up in the trees for what I presumed would have to be a rather large nest. Seeing nothing, and as they weren’t around, I decided to peer through the window of the abandoned building. Nothing really of interest except the detritus of human actions from the past. But then I sensed movement, or something watching me. Looking up, there was one of the vultures, peering at me through a hole in the roof. This was the closest I had been to one of them and I took in all of its features. I noticed its face was calm, it eyes curious, rather than fierce. I whispered “hello” and then slowly backed away to give it space. And I wondered later, why was it seemingly guarding the building, hanging around there all the time? So, I looked up the nesting habits of black vultures and found out they don’t build nests in trees but lay their eggs in caves, crevices in rocks, rotted out logs, or on the floors of abandoned buildings.  


It was then I recognized I had been given a gift, similar to what Mary Oliver describes in her poem, “The Place I Want to Get Back To.”


These two vultures (I have since named them Mr. and Mrs. Vee) had allowed me to peer into their place of refuge for their soon coming young. They didn’t attack me; they didn’t screech, they merely looked on in their curious fashion. Yes, this was a gift because if I had not been paying attention to God’s creation on my walks, I never would have had this interaction. Certainly, it would have been easy to scurry along, afraid of their size, or repulsed by their not very pretty appearance, but something or Someone made me stop that first time to get a better look. 


I’m looking forward to welcoming you to church in person, via Zoom, or livestream this Fifth Sunday of Easter as we continue to celebrate the gift of new life. No need to let me know if you wish to attend church . . . just come! Our musical offerings this Sunday will certainly bless your soul as Juliet Gallagher is our featured musician singing “Gather Us In” for our Prelude, “I Am the Vine” for our Anthem, and “God Who Touches the Earth with Beauty” for our Sermon Prayer Reflection. I will be preaching from John 15.1-8 and my sermon title is The True Vine. We will also celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper together. If you are worshiping at home, please have bread and juice/wine with you.  If you are attending in person, please wear your mask, practice social distancing, and sit where you see a white gratitude card on the pews.


I go over to the abandoned building every once in while, always looking forward to visiting some more with the Vee family. I’m also hoping I get to meet their babies one day, but that would be another, albeit, rare gift. And each time I walk to their building, I feel my heart singing, The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it (Psalm 24.1). 


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

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