March Memories: odds ‘n’ ends ‘n’ sparrows.

I’m kind of a collector of lost causes.  I’ve got a couple of plants people where I work have thrown away.  Both survived and are growing.  Then there’s the newborn pigeon on the balcony where I work.  The balcony seems to be a favorite breeding-ground for them.  Already two messes of babies this year.  [I don’t know what you call a group of pigeons, “flock,” I suppose.  Considering how dirty they are, “mess” seems like a good choice.]  This last batch consisted of two yellow fuzz-balls.  One was contentedly settled down in what passed for a nest; the other was having troubles.  I didn’t think it would make it.  It didn’t.

And…?

Got me to thinking about the time our Lord was teaching His disciples and talked about sparrows.  In Matthew 10:29, He said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?”  Luke 12:6 records it like this, “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?”

That fifth sparrow.

A “throw-away, as it were.  A lost cause.

Yet, in both instances, the Lord said that God knew all about it.  Then, He continued, even the hairs of our head are numbered, v. 7.  Not counted – numbered.  So the next time you comb or brush your hair, you can say, “Well, there go numbers …”

Then He said, and I think it was with a tender smile, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

All of us are bent and broken and full of imperfections and problems.

Lost causes.

Yet, through the Lord Jesus, God is pleased to take those bits and pieces, those imperfections, that lostness, and to build Himself a dwelling, which He beautifies and glorifies with His presence.

No wonder the Psalmist, in considering the work of God in his life, said, Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it, Psalm 139:6.  Then in v. 17, he wrote, How precious are your thought to me, O God!
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(originally published July 12, 2013.) slightly edited.

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odds ‘n’ ends ‘n’ sparrows

I’m kind of a collector of lost causes.  I’ve got a couple of plants people have thrown away where I work.  Both survived and are growing.  Then there’s the newborn pigeon on the balcony where I work.  The balcony seems to be a favorite breeding ground for them.  Already two messes of babies this year.  [I don’t know what you call a “group” of pigeons, “flock”, I suppose.  Considering how dirty they are, “mess” seems like a good choice.]  This last batch consisted of two little yellow fuzz-balls.  One was contentedly settled down in what passed for a nest; the other was having troubles.  I didn’t figure it would survive; it didn’t.

And…?

Got me to thinking about the time our Lord was teaching His disciples and talked about sparrows.  In Matthew 10:29, the Lord said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?”  Luke records it like this: “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?” Luke 12:6.

That fifth sparrow.

A “throw-away,” as it were.  A lost cause.

Yet, in both instances, our Lord taught that God knew all about it.  Then, in Luke 12:7, He said that even the hairs of our head are numbered – not counted, numbered.  So, the next time you comb or brush your hair, you can say, “Well, there goes number …”

Then He said, and I think it was with a tender smile, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows,” Luke 12:7.

All of us are bent and broken and marred, full of imperfections and problems.

Lost causes.

Yet, through the Lord Jesus, God is pleased to take those bits and pieces, those imperfections, that lostness, and to build Himself a dwelling, which He beautifies and glorifies with His presence.

No wonder the Psalmist, in considering the work of God in his life, said, Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it, Psalm 139:6.  Then, in v. 17, he wrote, How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

The Empty Nest

Parents with grown children who have left home know this “syndrome” as a result of the “quiet” which has come into their lives as a result of their children being gone.  I don’t know why the psycho-babblers think of this normal experience as a “syndrome.”  It’s not a disease or a maladjustment; it’s just life.

My wife and I have experienced this twice now.  The first time was when our own children left home, although, to be perfectly honest, it was we who moved out from under our youngest, then in his 20s, when we left Colorado and came to Indiana to be near the grandchildren.  At the time, we had them only here.  I suppose it’s only poetic justice that he then got married and moved to Montana, where they are expecting their second.  We’ve met and loved the first and are looking forward to the trip to do that to the second child.

The second time?  This morning.  On the 6th, I posted about some baby robins nested on our front porch light.  So, for more than 3 weeks, I’ve watched the nest, watched Mama and Daddy Robin take care of their young.  Watched them keep a close eye on me as I disturbed them by opening the front door to do whatever outside.  Talked to Mama (?) to assure her that she had nothing to worry about from us.  Seen little beaks above the top of the nest.  Even got to the point where we’d leave the porch light off for when I came home so Mama wouldn’t be disturbed when I came home from work.  I could dimly see her sitting there, still watchful, but not flying away, even when I opened the door to come inside.  Would talk to her some more.  Did this just last night.

I was looking forward maybe to seeing the little robins on their nest or out in the yard.

After I got home last night, Sharon and I got to talking about the robins.  She mentioned that she had been startled by a bird she thought was too small to be one of the parents flying into the nest just as she came out of the door.  She asked if I had looked into the nest lately.  I hadn’t.

This morning, I took the mirror and looked into the nest.  It was empty.  Not a bird to be seen anywhere, not even in the crabapple tree.  I felt a distinct sense of loss at “the empty nest.”

Weird.

But then, I like “weird.”  Give me a TV program about “fafrotskies” (google?) or some other oddity in our world and I’m all eyes, although I don’t think wearing a tinfoil hat is going to keep the aliens from reading my mind. 🙂   I like “Fringe,” “Warehouse 13,” “Stargate, SG-1,” “The X-files,”  though I don’t care for the evolutionary underpinnings of these programs.

I have no problem with the idea of extra-terrestrial life.  After all, God, Who is life, created all the billions of stars we see in the night sky.  Why would He leave them all barren and lifeless?  Just sayin’….  I just don’t think, if there is “life” out there, they’d be all that interested in this backward dust mote.  Besides, this planet would probably be “under quarantine” because of our sinfulness. (This isn’t to discount or deny angelic beings, which the Bible clearly teaches.)

As I said, “weird.”

So, what does this have to do with robins and nests?

Just this.  Why do we name animals?  Why do we have “pets”?  At last count, my family has 10 dogs and two lizards.  Why do we name them?  Cats, dogs, even fish.  Names.

Minerva, Rags, Greybeard, Oscar.  (Actual names out of my youth.)  Why?

And why do we talk to them?  We’d be totally freaked out if they answered!

While I do not believe in “racial memory,” that is, that we have some dim recollection of the ancient past hidden in our brains, I still wonder if this isn’t some faint echo of the Garden of Eden.  [Some enthusiast for the benefits of blue-green algae in our diets was rhapsodizing about what it would be like if we could tap into the accumulated wisdom of millions of years of algae(!)]

The Garden of Eden, I believe in.  The “accumulated wisdom” of algae, not so much!

Anyway, Adam named all the animals.  This probably was nothing more than “horse,” “camel,” “cow,” “hippopotamus.”  Still, the precedent was there for “names.”

And there was “talk.”  Granted, the only such recorded conversation ended poorly for us, but still, Eve was not shocked or surprised by a talking animal.  Scripture says nothing about it, just leaves it to those of us who like “weird” to muse about it in lesser moments.

Further, it wasn’t until after the Flood that God told Noah, “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air,…, Genesis 9:2 (NKJV) – hence Mama Robin’s reactions to me.  And Scripture prophesies a time when that “fear” will apparently be gone, Isaiah 11:6-9.

So, who really knows what “relationship” man and beast may have had?  It’s not one of the things God apparently thought we needed to know.  And I’m not trying to make some startling revelation about what might have happened.  This is just a light-hearted post (no, not “light-headed”) about something I wonder about every so often.

As I said, “weird.”

But, why do we name pets and talk to them?

“Bird blood”

I just visited Yahoo Answers Religion/Spirituality section, and just have to respond to something I read there.  I’m putting a response here because others might have similar questions.  One of the posters made a comment about Leviticus 14 and “bird blood” cleansing a house.  Clearly, he didn’t agree with the concept.

There were several OT sacrifices which involved the use of birds, sometimes because that’s all the offerer could afford, sometimes not.  In the case of Leviticus 14, there are at least two things to keep in mind.

First, it was a health issue.  The Israelites didn’t have the technology to discover whether any particular mold was toxic.  It’s better to be safe than sorry, so every mold was treated as toxic.  They didn’t have bleach – I don’t think Clorox was around back then – so the procedure prescribed was the next best thing: scrape away the infected material and replaster, then, if the mold came back, the house had to be destroyed.  Houses weren’t as complicated then as they are now, so rebuilding a house wouldn’t be so difficult.

Second, there was a moral component.  The house was considered “polluted.”  Even those who entered the house were considered polluted and had to go through ceremonial cleansing.  The sacrifice of a bird was to demonstrate that the house was “clean,” Leviticus 14:48-53: the procedure had worked.  Hebrews 10:4 (NKJV) says “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats [and birds] could take away sin.”  All the Old Testament sacrifices were merely symbolic of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus; they pointed forward to His death on Calvary.  It wasn’t just sacrifice for the sake of shedding blood.  It was to teach the people by picture and symbol the necessity of cleansing from pollution, whether for health, as in the case of Leviticus 14, or personally, because they were all sinners.  So are we.

There are no more sacrifices for sin.  The Lord Jesus died once for sin.  The Old Testament sacrifices were thousands of fingers pointing toward Him.