Friday, February 24, 2006

a church for the birds

This is the start of the time of year that makes me think of fondness for my church family, MoSt Church, more so perhaps than any other. And for what you would probably consider a bit of an odd reason. Birds. Spring is in the air, the grass is growing (at least weeds are, anyway) and . . . the birds are more active.

Yes, it's the birds that make me think of my church family. No, not the Bird family, but the aerial sort. I'm not a "birder," but I do enjoy watching birds. And MoSt Church is certainly more "for the birds" than any church I've known (that's probably why you have a preacher that's a bit of a bird brain, you say, right?).

I mean, how many churches do you know that have a purple martin house right near their stained glass window? When Deb and I saw first came here and noticed that, we knew this was the church for us. I can still recall when Bill Ehlig pointed it out to me and quoted from memory Psalm 84:3: (from the NRSV, of course):
"Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God."
If it's daylight, I can't hardly enter the office building without casting a glance toward the martin house to just check and see what's up up there. We are very much a refuge church and that little martin house, home to sparrows as well as martins, reminds me of how good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity in a place where God has offered "shelter in a time of storm" to so many.

Of course, when you mention birds around here, your mind must go straight to Paul Fagala. This guy's middle name should be "Hawkeye" - he can spot more birds in a parking lot than I could in an aviary! You ought to have Paul Fagala's birding blog bookmarked if you're a bird lover (or even just a squirrel watcher). Paul works for Wild Birds Unlimited and knows birds.

And if you haven't heard Bill Snead's latest birding story, well you're missing out on another "better than average story." I won't spoil it for you (or him), but you'll never guess what sort of bird took up residence just a few days after he put up a wren house in his backyard. Walk up to Bill and ask him: "Bill, what sort of bird do you have rentin' a room in your backyard wren house these days?"

Most of you know that MoSt is on local birder's maps due to the colorful kiskadees who have nested the past several years in the trees that border our west parking lot. I look forward to seeing these gorgeous birds again this year and sort of hope the patriarch will take up his territorial antics again and do battle with himself in one of the main Annex foyer windows as he did for a couple of years. He'd sit on the white hand rail at look intently at himself in the window's reflection for a several minutes and then suddenly, come try to peck the apparent "intruder's" eyes out!

Or maybe my personal favorite down at the building would be watching the ospreys work the bay across the highway or the pond by the parking lot. They're a lot about what I was saying about John's Gospel this past Wednesday night - "soaring" and "seeing."

And with that, may you mount up on eagle's wings today, I pray!