Tableau Thursday. The Season of Singing of Birds has Come

“The season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. (‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭2‬:‭12‬ NIV)

It is the 29 th April today in Co Down, Ireland.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a swallow swoop towards my window this morning.  Hooray the swallows have arrived. It is a new season. There is a different song outside.  Robins thrill, doves coo, chaffinches chirrup as they call to their mates in the warm mornings.  It will be safe to start building nests to prepare for having their young.

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The migrant birds are on the move.  The Brent Geese that had visited with us since September left the shore below while I was away in Scotland.  When they arrive in September they look like ducks.  They have shed weight while rearing their young in the Tundra in Northern Canada and have used up energy flying thousands of miles to our shores.  The Brent Geese come to the shores of Strangford Lough to feed on Eel grass. By April they have grown and fattened up.  They look like geese.  When the new season comes they fly away.  I miss  them.  Some geese came to feed and drink each morning below at a spring of water that joins the sea water lough.  I would hear their throaty calls from my room.

Jesus tells us to take the birds as our example and not to worry but seek first his kingdom.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body.  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭25-27‬ NIV)

I was shaken from my melancholy when I noticed the swallow this morning.  I went to share with my husband , “The swallows have arrived”.  It was an unexpected visitor.  He has flown here thousands of miles from South Africa.  He has made it as his family before him did.  What a feat.  Such a small bird can fly such a long way.

He had no luggage with him.  No belongings.  No passport. He has no purse.  He is free to fly over borders and nations.  He is no threat to anyone.  God had prepared a place for him in the barn behind our house. He will eat the food and drink the water here. He is welcome. He has brought joy to me. The singing has come to our land.

I watched a nature program about the flights of migrant birds.  On the swallows’ journey up North they stop off at different points to feed and rest for the next stage.  One stopover is by a lake.  The swallows arrive there just when millions of flies hatch out.  The air is dark with the flies.  The swallows swoop in and out of the cloud of flies and have a feast.  This is another example of God providing for the birds of the air.  I rejoice to see God’s timing and provision for the birds of the air.  Our Creator and Father looks after all his Creation.  I marvel in his Glory. I see his Glory in Creation.

The swallows song will join with the resident birds in the dawn chorus.  They will build their nests and rear their young in the barns behind where we live.

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. (‭Psalm‬ ‭84‬:‭3‬ NIV)

I will hear a different sound in the morning.  Instead of the Brent Geese’s call, there will be the chirping of the swallows on the wire.

How my Plans were Directed by the Inspiration of a Hymn

 

The day before I was due to travel to Jerusalem, I awoke singing the hymn, “Nearer my God to Thee.”  I had not been singing this hymn or heard it for a very long time.   I only knew a few verses.  I sang them over and over before I got out of bed.

I looked up the internet to find out all the words.  The hymn was written by Sarah Adams in the Nineteenth century and inspired by Genesis 28 v 11 to 19

 “So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it…”  

Here are the words.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;

Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus: Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like a wanderer, the sun gone down.  

Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;

Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;

All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;

Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,

Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;

So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,

Chorus

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,

Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,

Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

Chorus

I Iistened to the hymn being sung on u tube.  I was enjoying this early morning praise, when I was rudely interrupted by the door bell.  My neighbour came to tell me our car was just stolen from the car park, in broad daylight. I let my husband deal with it.  

Police were contacted.  The thief had entered our home through the back door, stole the keys from the kitchen and started the car.  All this happened while I was upstairs listening to the hymn!  I thought to myself, “Something good is going to come out of this.”

Next day we left for Israel.  We were meeting friends there.  They wanted to see the historical sites in the old City of Jerusalem.

One morning Brendan was reading from a book about Jacob having a dream in Bethel.  I said “I want to go to Bethel.”

That morning I had been reading in the bible from Exodus 20 v 24

“Build altars in the places where I remind you who I am, and I will come and bless you there.” Jacob had built an altar to God at Bethel after he had the dream.  

So I said “I think we should go there.”  A  week later we all agreed to go to Bethel.  We hired a Taxi.  We drove thirty kilometres north.  We came to the city of Ramallah.  Bethel was three miles from there.  Our driver took us to the site when Jacob had his dream.

It was wonderful to look out over the land of Israel from the spot where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived so long ago.  

The house with the domed roof is the site of Jacob’s dream.

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“Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants. ” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. (Genesis 12:7, 8 NLT)

Photo taken from inside the domed building.

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We went down to the site where it is said to be the place where Jacob had his dream.  That was a special moment for us all.  I believe we were blessed by God there, just as I read from the bible a week earlier.  Many are the plans of a man but God directs his path.  I believe we were directed by God to go to Bethel.  Three things happened to lead us,  Bethel mentioned in the Hymn, Brendan reading about it in his book and my reading from the bible.  Let everything be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses.  

We return home tomorrow.  We will look for a new car!