• Bill McLean

For the Birds

This weekend while running errands, we went into a chain store that has outdoor furniture and plants in a partially outdoor area. Hidden in the back corner were bird feeders of all shapes and sizes. After some brief discussion we decided that our family could use another

bird feeder, so we quickly selected one and moved on to browsing the firepits and seating sets.

Then our twelve-year-old pointed out that there was a bird sitting on one of the bird feeders like it was eating. We were all surprised and felt sorry for the bird because there was no food for it. But on closer inspection, many of the feeders really did have a small amount of bird food in the bottom. I have no idea where the food came from, but the bird found it. It was an excellent reminder that the world is full of unexpected things and that when we look around it is amazing how many wonders we see in God’s creation.

These moments of seeing the wonder of creation are easily missed because society repeatedly calls us to focus on being the best or fastest or strongest or smartest or richest. From this perspective the reason that people do things is because they will be rewarded or

compensated for their efforts; it is about getting ahead. Instead, our call as Christians is to do the opposite of this societal tendency. We are called to care for one another not for a reward, but because we have already been blessed by God. Our actions are a celebration of what we have received from God and not a way of buying something.

Seeing a bird find food in an “empty” bird feeder inside a store, was a wonderful reminder that even during a turbulent year the “birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them." (Matthew 6:26a NRSV) God has provided for the birds and God has provided for us as well.

Rather than worrying that our feeder might be empty, we are called to celebrate the gifts we have from God. Jesus demonstrated the wonder of this when he fed the multitudes as described in Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus took five loaves and two fish to feed over five thousand. While this was a divine miracle, we see similar miracles throughout creation every day.

When one of us donates items to the local food bank, adds something to the little free pantry outside the church, fills weekend food bags at the school, hosts a lunch for community members, or delivers food to someone just home from the hospital, we are all feeding the

multitudes. We are being part of the unexpected things of creation.

Amid all the ups and downs of the past year, when were you last surprised by the wonders of creation? When did you last wander through God’s creation and see something unexpected? How have you been part of the unexpected things of God’s creation?

May the Lord bless and keep you in your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

Grace and peace,


Rev. William "Bill" McLean, II

Presbyter for Congregational Care

Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois

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