There are two Proverbs often quoted; the first “Birds of a feather flock together”. Even though there are 9000 species of birds in the world, they are selective as to with whom they fly. They find safety in their numbers. As they fly they take turns in leading to break the wind and to lend energy to others as they migrate. Others relax in their off time to dine at one of our four feeders, and are observed by the neighbor’s cat.
Elizabeth Browning writes: :”Near all birds will sing at dawn, and yet we do not take the chaffing swallow for the Holy Lark.” If not by name, we know them by sight and song.
There is so much endearing about birds that we feed them, although nature does a very good job. We paint them, take photos, put them in aviaries,and often cleanse them when they are covered with oil.. we lament them when they fall to the ground or surrender to predators or man’s carelessness. So much for our dominion…. in which we take great pleasure; for it surely draws us in reverence for God’s imagination and creativity. The Word tells us that God knows when even one falls from the sky.
The other saying is “We are known by the company we keep.” Abraham Lincoln expanded it to say; “And we are known by the company we keep out.”.
We are held responsible for the choices we make; the company we keep and keep out as well. We welcome our brothers and sisters in faith, we feed with them, and cling to the same perch at times. Birds have it figured out; they do it for survival, and so may we at times. However, we are forced at times to “shake the dust from our feet” as prescribed by the Word.We must be very careful that we do not prefer birds of a feather to the exclusion of even a vulture, hawk , or errant blackbird. We may even be charged with their care.
Pure tolerance is not enough. . We are called as well, to stand before the winds of our time for those who lose direction, or grow weary. We all move toward the same reward; some with more energy than others. Should they fall, may it not be from grace. May it not be from apathy or intolerance for those “not like us”..