Ecclesiastical Bird-watching

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” Romans 6:6

Welcome to the annual Ornithologists Conference. I hope you’ve come prepared with your binoculars and bird books because we’re hoping to spot some of the rare and elusive Christians that have recently been spotted in the pews:

The Sickly Swallow. This bird is prevented from attending church by sniffles, sunburn, suspicious spots, sinus, stings, sprains, stress, and sties. Showers, sunshine, squalls and snow also seem to cause this bird to stay at home. Symptoms always appear on Sunday and are most acute early in the morning. However, the healing process is hastened by a Sunday afternoon drive or a trip in the boat and by Monday the Sickly Swallow is back to full health.

The Late Loon. Although it hasn’t been scientifically established, it’s believed that the Late Loon is allergic to greeters and ushers as she always arrives at church after the service has started. According to the church gossip the Late Loon will even be late for her own funeral!

The Great Speckled Sermon Snoozer. A large and variegated family, docile and easily domesticated. This breed takes readily to captivity and settles down contentedly in any suitable sanctuary. Once perched for the sermon, instinct causes them to immediately fall asleep which they can do without putting their heads under their wings. They’re faithful members of the flock and won’t miss church for anything because they can’t afford to miss out on their sleep!

The Cold Blooded Seat Shifter and Pew Penguin. These two birds attach themselves to a flock. The Cold Blooded Seat Shifter is often seen in full feather and wearing long sleeved plumage even in summer. No matter where she rests she shivers and quivers. The Pew Penguin is often seen plucking at his collar and wiping his brow. His nest is identified by a sweat stained pew and a hymn book with a broken binding from having been used as a fan. The Cold Blooded Seat Shifter and Pew Penguin have an affinity for Deacon Birds. After a service is over these two nervous bird’s circle the church until they spot their unwary prey. Then, squawking loudly, both descend on the hapless Deacon Bird, one to complain that the church was too hot and the other to complain that it was too cold!

The Great White Bittern. This bird regards itself as the defender of both the purity of the flock and the faith. A very vocal bird, it squawks loudly as it tries to make the other birds conform to the tradition of the flock. In Bittern language, this is called “keeping them in their place.”

The Migratory Mallard. It looks and quacks like the Common Duck but it has one distinguishing characteristic: It’s constantly flitting from one church pond to another and never settles very long at any one. It will swim happily in a pond for a few months or years then something will trigger an urge to migrate and suddenly it’s gone. Some leave the flock silently, but others leave the coop with much wing flapping and flutters of righteous indignation.

The Love Birds. These birds snuggle very close to each other despite the fact that there’s plenty of room on the pew. Interested observers of this species report gentle cooing sounds and touching of wingtips during times of prayer. One avid birdwatcher also reported the rubbing of ankles during the sermon. [Source unknown].

Although these tongue in cheek illustrations of Christians aptly describe some of the funny birds that flutter about in the local flock they’re not a biblical representation of the believer. According to God’s Word a Christian is someone who is purified (cf. Acts 15:9; Titus 2:14), satisfied (cf. Psalm 34:8; 107:9), fortified (cf. Isaiah 41:10; 58:11; Colossians 1:11; Ephesians 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 3:3), occupied (cf. Luke 19:11-27; 1 Corinthians 15:58), and glorified (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

Now don’t fly off to do whatever you’ve got to do. Stay on your perch for a few more minutes. Open your Bible and look up the texts mentioned above and as you read each text ask yourself, “Does this describe me? Am I the Christian ‘bird’ God wants me to be?”

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