Like many of you, we like to feed the birds. We hang a long tube with sunflower seed, another is filled with seed for finches, and we hang a cage of suet.
These feeders are located about 10 yards from our back door, and they attract the usual varieties of seed eating birds. The most fun bird for me to watch is the Nuthatch because it seems to do most of what it does upside down. To me, it makes a sound like some sort of clown tooting a ratchety little horn. The Nuthatch makes me laugh.
The other day I stood at the back door watching the avian feeding frenzy. One involved was a Black-capped Chickadee which flew onto the feeders and pulled a sunflower seed from the tube. But, leaving the feeder perch, it flew straight into the house. It rebounded off the house, and landed in one of Terry’s flowering shrubs close by. The bird sat there for a couple of minutes, and then flew off. I guess it was okay.
But, that kind of mishap occurs quite often. Birds will fly from the feeders headlong into the house. We often hear them hit, if we do not see them do it like the Chickadee I witnessed. Most of the time, however, the birds are killed. We usually find them dead on the patio.
I mean, they must surely fly into trees occasionally. If they are going to fly into our big ol’ house, some surely must run into a tree. And, what about the brush? They fly through brush without compulsion. I do not know how they do it so quickly. But, they are bound to sometimes get knocked down when flying through the brush.
I just think that birds have to fly into things other than my house.
One more observation to make about this ado about nothing, perhaps. These birds that frequent our feeders never fly into the house when going to the feeders. It is always after they have been to the feeders.
This whole consideration, however, stirs a biting question. Does this mean that they become blind or insensitive to the presence of our house after being blessed with an easy source of food? What goes on in their bird brain after picking a seed for consumption? I want to yell at them, “My house is right here!”
By contrast, I see a biting spiritual parallel concerning this. God has tremendously blessed this nation. It is like we have great access to all kinds of material feeders easy for the taking because He has decided to providentially bless us. While the Israelites were blessed with a land that “flowed with milk and honey,” we are comparatively blessed by God with a land filled with the easy availability of great pickings.
But, Israel had it good to the point that they kept going through spells of ignoring the presence of God. And, it appears to be the same type of thing for us here in the United States of America. Instead of recognizing the immense presence and purpose of God, we wind up flying inadvertently headlong into the judgment of God by simply disregarding His presence.
What makes this so suggestive to me involves observations I make of people locally and our nation at large. Locally, people seem to recognize the blessings of God, but have no compulsion whatsoever that faithful worship of Him is the right response. Nationally, I observe people consumed with sports and manifold luxuries that occupy times which have been Scripturally set for worship. It used to be that sports participations for kids were never set for Wednesdays or Sundays, but, because that has changed, so has it changed for church participations.
We fly to the feeders that ALMIGHTY GOD!! has graciously provided. Then we act as though He is not worthy of worship recognition. What I believe is that these national natural disasters and these man-made national tragedies are ways God is trying to get our attention to prioritize Him in our national conscience.
One more thing: the birds that fly into our house usually become snacks for Shasta, our cat. The comparison is obvious: do we want to spiritually become a judgment snack ourselves? It might help if we start flying better spiritually.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.