Ah, the branta canadensis (also known as the Canada goose)! Although migratory, the weather and the plants of Virginia seem to suit them so well, they’ve largely decided to take up permanent residence. Two areas where their homesteading is unappreciated are golf courses and airports. Maintenance crews of the first have a trashy, and daily, sanitation job. Grounds crews of the latter are constantly on the hunt for humane ways of keeping this protected species off the runways (and being ingested by jet engines). A third area where these majestic birds congregate is small lakes and ponds, especially retention ponds in urban centers. The boulevard on my commute to the office bisects one such water source. Of course, our feathered friends like both segments, and regularly cross the well-traveled, divided, four-lane road on their way from one to the other. This family grouping numbers approximately 30 birds. While they don’t exactly waddle, they do frequently pause mid-way to leisurely take in their surroundings, perhaps waiting for stragglers, perhaps, in a kind of sinister avian humor, basking in their power to bring all rolling machines to a complete halt. I think they particularly enjoy stopping all four lanes at once (you can see this in their nonchalant, head-raised-high, scanning of the gathering crowd of admirers). It may also be that they are relishing God’s protection over them in the presence of their 3,000-lb. enemies. As they do eventually meander on, not a feather ruffled, I think their group honking is in praise to Him.

Ah, homo sapiens (also known as mankind, or modern man)! We possess the biggest brains in all Creation (or so I’m told). Capitalizing on this, our fallen nature tempts us to strut and preen our pre-eminence making us prone to forget the might and majesty of the One who is our Creator. We are prone to assume much in our own regard, especially that we are self-sufficient (this is where self-orbiting always begins). This need for no one and nothing leads away from family, community, and relationships and can lead to isolation and despair.

Jesus’ warning/instruction to us not to worry*, never give in to worry, forsake our worries (as he illustrated through observance of the birds of the air), is easily dismissed by our ‘superior intelligence’ as naïve and even as a dangerous path to follow in today’s world. Even as followers of Jesus, believing that quietly resting in Salvation’s provisions, no worries entertained, ever, can seem overly simplistic. Not to worry sounds reckless, disaster-inviting. After all, what to do with those all-important, ‘What ifs?’ (to which Jesus asks the all-important: ‘What about me?’) And there’s his warning/instruction in Matthew chapter 6, where Jesus seems to be almost begging his disciples to jettison their culture’s norm of worrying in favor of honoring him by fully trusting his love for them. I hear his desperate whispering still –  to me, to us, today. Is he worthy?  PD

*strangely appropriate, I think, one online source says the origin of the word, ‘worry,’ comes from the Old English word for ‘to strangle.’

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