“Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Parent feeds them.” - Matthew 6:26 (CEB)
Working from home these days, I have more time to watch the birds at my feeder: sweet chickadees, upside-down nuthatches, tufted titmice, tiny goldfinches yellowing up by the day.
But it’s the woodpeckers that humble me. Whatever the species – hairy, downy, or huge and resplendent red-bellied – they approach my tube feeder in precisely the same way: as if it were a tree.
The feeder is not a tree, of course, but trees are what woodpeckers know, and pecking for insects is what they do. And so they stare at the plastic tube encased in metal mesh, as if pecking in the right place will yield yummy grubs or ants. When it does not, they protest. Loudly.
At the base of the feeder, meanwhile, a feast awaits them: peanuts, raisins, dried cherries, almonds, pistachios, and more!
We are accustomed to finding meaning and purpose in doing and busyness, but stay-at-home orders prevent much of that. Unable to prove our worth by working, we’re less sure of who we are and what difference it makes. Without structure, we feel lost. Unable to pay the bills, we feel scared. Separated from our loves, we get angry.
This is not to discount the magnitude of suffering, death, and heroic sacrifices happening every day. It is all too real, and it must motivate us to remake the world.
Meanwhile, the flowers of the field still grow. The birds of the air still eat. And the feast of divine love and grace that carries us through our days never runs out.
Holy Feeder, thank you for taking care of us. Even now. Still now. Always.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.