December 30 Post
“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.” Ezekiel 34:11-12
It was a wild goose chase to be sure. Stepping out of my car for a bit of post-Christmas shopping, he stood there with his ridiculous pink legs and feet, asking me a question I couldn’t decipher nor answer. I had a few of my own. What kind of beautiful bird stood there staring at me? Was this goose or duck or something altogether other? What was he doing wandering about the mall parking lot, and why didn’t he fly away when I walked up to photograph this creature the likes of which I had never seen?
He seemed lost to me, committed to circling the blacktop. I remembered that some species of bird mate for life, and pondered whether he might have lost his mate to an untimely death. Perhaps he waited here for her return. To test that theory, I drove back out to the mall the next day, and the day after that and sure enough, the handsome one stood right where I’d left him. This time I walked up even closer for a better photo. This creature must surely belong to someone, as he had no fear of me beyond a curiosity as to why I had neglected to bring lunch.
It took a dozen phone calls to a birder friend from Mexico, two bird rehabilitation experts, the local, county and federal fish, game and wildlife people, an answering machine, and local bookstore to figure out who he was and what to do about him. Now at this point you just may think I have too much time on my hands, but seriously, who wants to let a beautiful creature get run over by a car when he clearly could not see for himself the precariousness of his situation. Surrounded by speeding cars, it seemed only a matter of time.
Considering all these questions made me curious about what God imagines when God rescues us from trouble before we know we are in it. The Bible is chock-full of stories about finding lost sheep and rescuing us from danger. As I thought about how far I was willing to go for that bird, I wondered how much further God will go for us. Clearly, God doesn’t give up on us, even when we wander in what appears to be meaningless circles. God knows that at any moment we may accidently fling ourselves in front of trouble so big there’s no escaping it. It’s a wonder, really, that any of us survive the day.
I can’t tell you how the bird story or our own will end. But I can tell you this. If God’s eye is on the sparrow, surely God will watch out for what turns out to be a gorgeous, exotic Egyptian Goose, thought to have escaped a zoo or private collection. And if this same God relentlessly pursues lost sheep, imagine how much further God will go to rescue you and capture me.
Prayer: God of all creation, thank you for the beauty and wonder of all you have made. Thank you that as creator of all that was, is or every will be, you cherish every gorgeous part of us, and will pursue, rescue and love us to the end. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you in this new year.
Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
Community Church of Vero Beach