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Thoughts While Observing Mr. Red

posted Aug 10, 2019, 6:13 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Grace and peace to you!


How is your summer going? Have you traveled? Read some books? Gone to the beach? Or enjoyed the hot lazy days of summer quietly at home? For me, it has been more of the latter. I have been mindful to follow my own gentle call to be still and know during this season. And the other day, I was so grateful I was being still, for I would have missed something had I been busy or distracted.


I was sitting outside watching the many birds come to the feeder. There were purple finches, sparrows, blue jays, mourning doves, grackles, and cardinals. One particular male cardinal — I call him Mr. Red — was underneath the feeder, feasting on the seeds being cast down by other birds. Next to him was a baby bird, squeaking with mouth open, tittering its wings, begging for Mr. Red to feed it. 


But the baby bird wasn’t a cardinal. It was a cowbird.


Some of you may know that cowbirds don’t raise their young. They are brood parasites. They lay their eggs in other birds’ nests, and those birds then sit on the eggs until they are hatched. I’m not sure if the host bird realizes that the incubating eggs are of a different species but it doesn’t seem to matter. I witnessed Mr. Red feeding baby cowbird for several days in a row, making sure the little one survived. 


Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them (Matthew 6.26).


Even though cowbirds don’t “parent” their young, somehow God has designed it that they will survive and flourish through the care of other birds. 


Oh, that humans could learn a lesson from Mr. Red! That no matter what, no matter who, no matter where, we would take care of each other, recognizing that each person on this planet is a child of God and worthy of dignity and love and God’s grace; and that we, as people of faith, are commanded to love our neighbor as ourself. I am grateful that I serve a congregation that gets this truth. Thank you for being a church of Mr. Reds! My prayer is that as we continue to witness in our community to God’s love, more and more people will see this love shining through us, and God’s peace will take flight into our world. 


Come this Sunday and let’s witness to God’s love, peace, and care together! As it is the Second Sunday, we will have our first service at 8:30 AM. Come early to church and worship God in our beautiful Meditation Garden. We will celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper outside in creation. Sarah Gordon will be playing flute and Mike Steib will sing and bless our souls. And then, at 10:30 AM we will worship again. A special quartet — Debbie Burke, Diane Grady, Dan Pannebaker, and Izaak Thorpe —  will sing the anthem, “Spirit Song” and the Offertory song, "Faith, While Trees Are Still In Blossom.” I will be preaching from Hebrews 11.1-3, 8-16 and my sermon title is The Things Hoped For. 


See you in church!


In gratitude for the joy of being your Pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish


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