There’s nothing quite like sitting out back in the stillness of the morning, coffee in hand, Bible open, being still and watching the variety of birds come in for their breakfast.
Flight patterns and personalities emerge, some cling to the feeder to eat, some scratch at the food on the ground. Some don’t mind the company of other types of birds. Some prefer to eat alone…good morning Mr. Redheaded Woodpecker. Some are bullies…I’m thinking of you Mr. Blue Jay. Some make messes…that would be the Blackbirds whether it’s the Cowbird, Crow or Red winged variety.
There’s Bluebirds, Towhees, Chickadees, Juncos, Goldfinches, Robins, Nuthatches, Titmice, Turtledoves, Catbirds, Redbirds, Sparrows, Thrashers, Orioles, Indigo Buntings, just to name a few, that we’ve seen on the feeders. All of them have a very distinct call and if you listen long enough you can distinguish who’s who.
Until you hear this guy…
Meet the Mockingbird. He can mimic any and all of the above, plus some, I’m sure. He’s really good too. He rattles off his repertoire as I’m going about doing my outside chores. My girls joke that he follows me around. It could be.
I believe the Creator of all things teaches us many things through the simplicity of nature. We just have to listen with our ears open and our hearts willing to learn. As I listen to the mockingbird mimic his fellow aviaries it reminds me that we, too, are to be mimickers. Paul tells us to be imitators of God. (Ephesians 5:1)
How do we do that? Just like the mockingbird does every single day, we practice until we perfect it so that no one can tell the difference.
We practice the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
We practice thinking upon whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…and excellent. (Philippians 4:8)
We practice the art of loving each other with grace and truth. Not one or the other but both because that’s how much we care about our fellow people.
We practice the cunning of the catbird’s call and the tenderness of the mourning dove’s coo. Because we are being sent out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
We won’t always get it right. I’ve heard the mockingbird hit a sour note or two. It didn’t stop him from continuing his ballad. We mustn’t stop either. People are in desperate need to see us be imitators of Jesus. The real One, not the one clothed in a Pharisaic robe standing all-righteous above others. The real One, who gets down in the dirt face to face with an adulterous woman and dares the others to judge her. The real One who would rather have dinner with sinners than rub elbows with the saints. The real One, the rebel with a cause. The One who can see a person’s potential even though they have a past. The real One who sees beauty in someones broken and purpose in their pain.
We practice so we have the courage to show kindness to those who are crippled, to those who cannot stand for themselves…even when it may get us in trouble. (Acts 4:8-9)
We practice so that when others realize we are but unschooled, ordinary people, they will be astonished and will take note that these people have been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
We can be imitators of Christ by having spent time with him, getting to know him, learning from him, and listening to him.
I want nothing more than for each person I meet to take note that I have been with Jesus. To be astonished at how I acted and reacted. Not because of anything I’ve done but because of the One with whom I’ve hung.
Now excuse me. I have some mimicking to practice and a song to sing.
Fiercely for YOU!