Sunday, June 12, 2016
A Band of Blue Jays
When I come out here to my deck in the early mornings, I truly never know what to expect. In fact, I've come to anticipate this time for just that reason. No, the scenery itself doesn't change too much -- just the normal stuff of the seasons, but what God brings to me does. This morning was like that.
At the present, I am working through a devotional book entitled, "40 Days to a Closer Walk With God" by David Muyskens. The author teaches his readers a method of silent communion with God; of being open to the gift of God's presence and just abiding in deep and intimate relationship. After reading today's short entry, I put the book aside and picked up my coffee to just spend some time with God -- as suggested. No reading. No praying. Just a time of being aware of His presence. In silence. Or so I thought. For just as I picked up my warm cup and began to meditate on the passage, "Lo, I am with you always," a blue jay in the back pine began to call. I have to admit that my first thought was, "Well, that's annoying," as I pulled myself back to center. And then there was another. And another until I could distinguish between 6 or 8 jays in a cacophony over my head. Never had I heard, or at least been aware of, such sound. I couldn't help but wonder if there were some intruder of sorts in the trees -- or yard. What would cause such alarm?
As the concert continued, I refrained from clapping my hands or rushing into the yard crazy-like to scare them away so I could return to "being in God's presence." Rather, I settled into listening to see if God was speaking to me through this. After all, there I sat TRYING to meditate upon Matthew 28:20: "I am with you always."
Because I had looked at my watch when I settled into my silence, I knew exactly how long the birds kept up their, what shall I say? Chorus. 25 full minutes. But as quickly as they began, they quieted. The odd thing is that I never saw a one of them. No flights. No swoops. Just one lonely call at the end so precise that I wondered if it might not be the pronounced "Amen" by the leader of the group.
Blue jays. It's not a bird that many like due to its aggressive behavior -- especially toward another bird's nest and babies. And their gaukiness. After all, their "song" is not particularly lovely. But they are fearless when it comes to protecting their partner (they mate for life) as well as their young and their territory. They will defend their positions against adversaries much larger and more powerful than themselves. Often to great success. And to the Native Americans, the blue jay speaks of purity of the soul, truth of the heart, and clarity of thought; a "double vision" or double clarity due to the blue on blue.
At this point, I'm not really sure what or if God was speaking to me. But I am certain of this: when all was quiet again and I took by Bible and opened it to that Matthew passage, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had just experienced something very, very holy. Tears welled up in my eyes and began to course down my cheeks. My spirit was extremely full -- like I had just eaten a gratifying Thanksgiving meal.
Maybe this is what Jesus meant when He said the kingdom of God is at hand. It's NOW. Maybe this is what it means to be in the present moment and experience Him NOW. After all, isn't that what the Matthew passage was saying? That He is with us, even in the midst of the disturbances, all the noise, all the upheaval going on around us? Yes, I believe it just might be. And not only today, but tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and, yes, even to the end of the age.
I think that's a word worth holding on to, even if God did use a band of bluejays to deliver it.
Just an ordinary moment...