For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
—Song of Solomon 2:11-12
Trusting the birds to know
Now is the time of the singing of birds. And the lyric of their grandiose music can be reduced basically to this: “Lo!”
Because, behold! Now is when spring is in full display. Now, the lavish and ongoing gift of God’s prolific spirit is most obviously happening. Now the trees don their Easter bonnets. Now, the dewy earth is lit with song — in the blue twilight of morning, in the golden eve of the day, and in all the hours between.
We are witnessing the faithfulness of God’s ongoing investment in creation.
The late writer, Brian Doyle, shared a comment in one of his stories about an old monk who told him “birds are shards of faith themselves in mysterious ways.” No further elaboration provided, just that. And I tend to agree. Whose faith? God’s, for one. God’s blessed faith in his own creation to carry on. To renew. And to proclaim: Glory! I trust the birds to know.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. (Psalm 104:30)
Much of the natural world is having a riotous party for our senses and our faith informs us it has a resurrection theme. Yes, we know it won’t last, but we can dance while it lasts! Other seasons will follow, colors fade, leaves fall and winter return, but the cycle of the dance is in full swing and is now calling.
Hymn: All Things Bright and Beautiful
All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
each little bird that sings,
he made their glowing colors,
he made their tiny wings.
The purple-headed mountain,
the river running by,
the sunset, and the morning
that brightens up the sky.
The cold wind in the winter,
the pleasant summer sun,
the ripe fruits in the garden,
he made them, every one.
He gave us eyes to see them,
and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty,
who has made all things well.
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Words: Cecil Frances Alexander (1848)
Tune: “Royal Oak,” Traditional English Melody
SOURCE OF ALL BLESSINGS,
you bless us with birdsong—
the ecstasy of a lark, still singing
as we lose sight of it in the blue
sky; the water music of the thrush
when the sun comes out after a
thunderstorm; the bell the cuckoo
keeps ringing on an island when
the hawthorn is in bloom. May I
remember my calling: to sing in
my heart with all the songbirds
of the world, for sheer gratitude and
to give joy to others by this silent song.
— David Steindl-Rast, from 99 Blessings: An Invitation to Life
“Because It’s Hard” from Eight Whopping Lies and Other Stories of Bruised Grace, ©2017 Brian Doyle; Franciscan Media
“All Things Bright and Beautiful,” from Jazz Plain and Simple, by Michael Hassell ©1998 Augsburg Fortress
“Prayer 84, Source of All Blessings,” from 99 Blessings: An Invitation to Life, ©2013 by Brother David Steindl-Rast