Distanced Socializing Devotional- 36
Our Tuesday devotion was prepared by Richard Randolph, lead pastor at ChristUMC.
Scripture Matthew 6:26
“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
One of the impacts of the coronavirus is that I spend most of my time working from a home-study. I have arranged this study so that my desk looks out on over our backyard. So, over the past 8 weeks I’ve had the unusual opportunity to watch as spring has gradually unfolded. Our backyard is filled with life! There are many flowering bushes, rabbits, and squirrels.
Last year, we put up two birdfeeders, so this spring our backyard is swarming with so many birds: cardinals, robins, blue jays, and wrens. My favorite birds are the yellow finches. Yellow finches are very small birds. When you see them sitting in a bush, sometimes all you see is just a blur of their neon yellow feathers. They will usually gather in flocks of 6-8 finches at one time. I especially love the way they fly about the yard, with their distinctive “wave motion” of flight.
Yesterday afternoon, while I was in staff meeting on zoom, I looked outside my window. There were two yellow finches sitting in the bush and a scarlet tanager between them. The juxtaposition of the neon yellow and the brilliant red was absolute breath-taking. For a few minutes, I was completely mesmerized by the beauty of the birds, sitting in the green bush.
Despite the spectacular beauty of these birds, in our scripture Jesus reminds us that God cares for the birds in all their beauty. Yet, Jesus also notes, “Are you not of more value than they?” Jesus continues by encouraging his followers not to worry because God will care for us, as well.
In the middle of this coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to forget Jesus words of encouragement. I feel certain that all of us are suffering from some fear, anxiety, and depression from the pandemic. It would be easy to become so overwhelmed that we are paralyzed with fear, frantic with anxiety, or immobilized by depression. It is precisely at these moments that we need to remember that we are not alone; that God is with us, even in the fear, anxiety, and depression of the pandemic. We are never, ever alone. God is with us. God will provide, if only we can learn to trust God.
Ever present God, we give thanks for the many splendors of your wonderful Creation. Today, we give special thanks for all of the birds, some with radiant plumage. O loving God, help us to be reassured by the birds of your endless love and care. Help us to manage the inevitable fear, anxiety, and depression brought on by this powerful pandemic. Help us to remember how you care for us and how you are always with us. In the name of the Great Teacher, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.