Several years ago my family and I lived in Birmingham. As a Mancunian lass I have to say Birmingham never appealed to me. On the rare occasions I would journey down to London, usually for large church gatherings, we would bypass Brum. As we travelled on the M6 past Fort Dunlop I would look out from the coach window on what I perceived to be a big black hole in the middle of England. How wrong I was! My three years in Birmingham were some of the happiest days of my life. The people and city were far kinder and gracious to me than I had ever imagined and my stay there was a time of healing and peace.
One spring day I was walking from my house to a ladies Bible Study group which we called LIFT. (Ladies in Fellowship Togethe; . Which was not to be confused with SAG – Social Acton Group!) The Cherry Blossom was out on the trees in Kings Heath and the world was a beautiful place that morning. I was walking briskly as I was rather late, suddenly from nowhere a little bird flew into me. It immediately fell to the ground but it was still very much alive. I stopped and bent down as it struggled on the ground. We were both in a state of shock, my little friend far more then I was. He was a fledgling sparrow; I could tell he was not very old by his fluffy feathers. I picked him up, and held him in my cupped hands. He was warm; I could feel his heart beating. I didn’t know what to do so I sat down on the pavement. Should I just put him in someone’s garden? Should I take him home? Should I carry on walking to LIFT and take him with me? I decided to go home and see what I can do for him there, maybe water would help him.
I turned back and kept walking with my hands still cupped together and the little bird resting there. As I walked I became aware that my tiny friend was no longer struggling, in fact he wasn’t doing anything anymore. This fragile life had expired in my hands. Even now as I write this it makes me sad to recall that moment when my tears freely flowed and I sobbed as I realised there was nothing I could do to change the events that had taken place. I hesitated as to what to do next, then kissed him and gently placed him on the ground, soaked in my tears, then I buried him under some spring blossom petals. I journeyed home alone to sit quietly and reflect on what had taken place.
Of all the moments in my life why do I recall this one? Why did this specific moment make such a profound impact on me? Was it because it was around the time my father died and it touched on my personal grief? Was it the fact that I in some way felt responsible for the death of this little creature? Was it just an emotional pregnant woman dealing with issues of life and death? Probably all of the above, along with the wonderful truth that actually not even a sparrow falls down to the ground and dies without our Heavenly Father knowing about it. (Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care).
In that moment I encountered the love of our Wonderful Creator for the whole of his amazing creation. For each tiny sparrow, for me and for you.
Thank You Father that we share life with your diverse creation, and that right now there is order and beauty all around us because you have ordained it to be.
Jesus – during this Lenten season, remind me again that the life I enjoy this day is a gift from you, and teach me to life it to the full and to always bring you glory.
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!