The Robin

 

In Ireland the humble bird the Robin is celebrated on our Christmas cards. Images of the bright eyed bird with healthy feathers, red on his breast and brown on his body and wings are displayed on many a mantle piece.

One forgets that this bird has had to survive a busy schedule in spring and summer building nests, hatching eggs, and foraging for food to keep himself and young alive. Brendan leaves out seeds and leftover bread on the fence for the birds. One bird waits expectantly every morning. It has come into our kitchen when we leave the door open.

If I am away for a few days the Robin welcomes us back by hopping in circles around me from shrub to hedge to get my attention. I haven’t been looking out for my friend for a while. But this morning I was up early. The bird must have seen me move about the kitchen. He was looking for food.

I fetched the seed box and laid out some seeds. The Robin came along. Sadly he looked a bit disheveled. His head was bereft of healthy feathers. He had few red feathers. He must have been in a few difficult situations; fights, hungry or thirsty.

Perhaps the hungry mouths he was helping feed this summer pulled at his feathers when he was sharing his morsels. Is it time to moult his feathers? Or was he in some territorial fights? I discovered from a bird blog that robins defend their territory fiercely.

He has some nice territory to defend. He has two gardens in which to forage and get plenty of food for his offspring. He has a home owner who leaves out treats for him every morning. He isn’t going to give up easily.

Can I learn from this little bird. Jesus said look at the birds. I see this Robin as a real warrior fighting for his home and his land where he gets provision for his young. I read in Nehemiah 4 v 4 that the men prayed for their families and their homes. They built with one hand and defended their property with a sword in their hands. Like the Robin I often get a few ruffled feathers as I defend my home and children. It is my space and I want to keep it a safe place free from evil.

Jesus likens a man to a house.
““When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. “”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:43-45‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We can learn from this scripture Jesus warning to continue to keep our house free from evil spirits. They will always want to come back in. They will never give up. So one needs to be on guard to prevent evil coming back into ones life once we have been set free.

How does one do that. By believing in Jesus, by prayer, by reading the Word of God and by obeying what God has asked one to do.

IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD

I have a big garden, hedgerows at the front and trees at the back. In the spring it becomes a hive of activity. Blackbirds, starlings and sparrows are busy overturning autumns leaves looking for insects.  They are getting strengthened for the busy time ahead, building nests and rearing young.

One year there were so many blackbirds nesting in the hedgerows, that I wanted to call our house, “Blackbird Cottage.”  It is a joy to hear them sing from early morning in May, when they are flitting to and fro feeding their young.  Sometimes their tones are raised when there is danger about in the form of our cat.

Today I missed the birdsong and all the activity of the birds in our garden.  I wondered, “Where do the birds go for the summer?”  I checked this question out on the Internet and the RSPB website gave the following information.  I quote.

“Firstly, for many birds we are coming to the end of a hectic breeding season.  After all of the battling for territory, courting mates, finding nesting material, gathering food for young and chasing off predators, it is no surprise that some of the birds are looking a little worse for wear.  Late summer is the time to moult all of the worn and damaged feathers to be replaced with a shiny new set that will keep the birds well insulated through the cold winter months.

During the moult, which takes a number of weeks, birds change their ways, becoming quiet and reclusive.  They don’t want to expose themselves to predators whilst they do not have a full set of flight feathers which would make them much more vulnerable.  They will still be around but skulking under hedges.  Also many birds depart to the wider countryside to feast on the seasonal peak of seeds and fruits.”

I mused.  That is exactly how I feel at the end of the summer.  I have been busy with rearing my children, when they are off school or university and there is more work for me to do.  We all stay up later because of the longer evenings, more outings for walks and definitely more cooking and shopping.  My feathers are definitely easily ruffled.  I have bags under my eyes, my nails are brittle, my hair is grey and my skin dry, my legs and arms are weak. If only I could fly away to some resting place like the birds where there is an abundance of fruit and food.

Psalm 55 v 6 says “Oh that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”  Even the birds hide and rest.  God sees our distress, whether it is tiredness, mental anguish, worry about money or concern for a family or whatever trouble comes our way.

Jesus said to take the birds of the air as our example.  Matthew 6 v 26 says,

 Look at the birds!  They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are far more valuable to him than they are. 27 Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

Another comment on the RSPB was from a visitor.  He said  “Robins spend summer on the French Riviera: a popular spot is Juan-les-Pins.  Starlings flock to Brighton for the world famous murmuration festival, while blackbirds fly off to their second nests, usually in Cornwall.”

I laughed.  Birds of a feather flock together.  Starlings often gather together in flight and do acrobatics in the sky.  They dance and twirl to have fun.  It is good to meet up with friends of like minds and hang out for a while.  We are going to a gathering of friends at the end of September.

Some people are rich enough to have second homes in the sun.  We don’t have a second home but we are off to Greece soon.  Psalm 104 v 15 says, “God gives man wine to make him glad, and olive oil as lotion for his skin, and bread to give him strength.”  I will get my heart strengthened, body rested and sunshine to warm my bones.  We are learning from the birds.

Chow

Angela

Bible quotes from the Living Bible