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Spring has sprung…
Spring has sprung…
… the grass is ris, I wonder where the birdies is?
This bit of somewhat ungrammatical doggerel is probably quite well known, and to the question it contains, I know where the birdies is: they is in my garden!
Years ago, seeing God in creation didn’t seem to be the sort of thing that went down well with a certain type of Christian, possibly fearful that it was too ‘new agey’ or something. Yet when I watch the birds flitting about in the garden, their complicated feeding rituals, establishing territory and pecking order, building nests, I can sit and marvel for hours at the wonder of God’s creation.
When I were a lad, growing up in a smoggy Manchester in the days before the Clean Air Act took effect, we had three kinds of birds, plus pigeons which somehow don’t count. We had blackbirds, slightly smaller blackbirds and little blackbirds. The pigeons were a sort of muddy grey too. Years after we were turned into a smokeless zone, I was totally transfixed by the most beautiful little bird I had ever seen; it was brown with stripes and a grey front. The little blackbirds had been transformed into sparrows now our air wasn’t laden with soot.
If I were designing a universe and had to throw in a few birds, three sizes of little black jobs would surely be fine. After all the question is asked in scripture, ‘aren’t three sparrows sold for a penny?’ But these days, with more of a penchant for watching birds, I am stunned, every day, by the colour and variety of birds in my garden, let alone those I see on coastal islands in the breeding season or at RPSB reserves. Like many people in our neck of the woods, probably the most extravagant regular garden visitors are goldfinches; at this time of the year in particular they are a riot of colour.
One shed a feather in our garden once; this tiny feather was intricately marked in yellow, black and white, one of thousands all creating that little bird’s own distinct markings. Maybe it evolved from some primeval slime; even if it did, would that not be a miracle in itself? But to me the care and precision, let alone the sheer extravagance of the colours and design, that went into that small and insignificant feather from a small and insignificant (if a bit showy!) bird, just spoke volumes about a creator God.
I don’t know why He created birds, but I do know they bring me inordinate pleasure. I have even less idea why he should bother with so many different kinds, each with their own elaborate
colour schemes, temperament, song and place in the hierarchy. Would the world continue to rotate on its axis without them? Probably. Would a humble sparrow bring an end to conflict in the Middle East? I doubt it. But they are there, in infinite variety, created by a God who is totally creative. He knows why He created them; maybe He just enjoyed it. I will just continue to enjoy them and wonder about the infinite greatness of our God.