Feed My Flock

The Church . . . What purpose does it serve? Throughout history it has had had much potential for both harm and good. As a minister’s child, church was an integral part of my life – my family’s “bread-and- butter”, so to speak. I saw both the best and worst of human nature displayed within the inner workings of the church. Most of my life I rested on the laurels of my heritage – having the right answers in Sunday School, playing my part to perfection. 
Then life happened. The proverbial rug was pulled out from under me. I found the Church didn’t know quite what to do in a crisis. Human systems failed me.
Nature became my comfort, a constant witness that God was here – always. Nature often brings comfort when human systems fail. Noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary events of the natural world can often reveal divine lessons. Nature is a model for how the system should work. I experienced very personal messages that provided not only great comfort but also spiritual guidance.
As I began to heal and move forward, I prayerfully sought what role the Church would have in my life as well as the role God had for me within His church. And nature once again provided the divine model.
           After noticing a particular flock of birds outside my window one day, I did some research and found that this “motley crew” of winged creatures (which consisted of cardinals, downy woodpeckers, and Carolina wrens) had a distinct if not divine purpose. Bird researchers had discovered that cardinals, woodpeckers and wrens often flock together not just for protection but to “increase feeding efficiency”. Hence, to feed the flock as it were. These three species work together both for protection and service to the flock – a wonderful model for how the church community should work. 
Individually, each bird is quite distinct in both appearance and behavior. The cardinal is bright, attention-getting, with a loud chirp and soaring song. The downy woodpecker is laser-focused, diligent in its task, and full of strength. Then there is the wren – quiet, unassuming, nondescript - yet a very necessary part of the flock, steady and calm.
           We all find ourselves in these birds - these roles -as we live in community with our families, friends, work, and church. Sometimes we find that we align differently with our flock depending on the timing and situation. (Personally, I felt I had gone from being a cardinal to a wren to eventually finding the woodpecker-like strength to persevere.). But no matter the role, all are necessary. All have value as we feed together on God’s word, diligently seeking his guidance so that we may carry out his divine directive to “feed my flock”.
Verse & Prayer
“But ask the beasts and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens and they will tell you . . . “ Job 12:7
Creator of all,
Thank you for the wisdom you send our way through all of your creation. Give us discernment so that we may better understand your divine purpose for our lives and the work of your church.