Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? Job 39:27
This morning, I went to the store for some coffee and seltzer water. Upon arriving at the parking lot, I noticed the CHIROPRACTOR sign over one of the neighboring businesses. In the capital letter A was a small bird’s nest, a sparrow I believe.
Now, what’s the little bird family know of the structure in which they’ve built their home? They know it is high above the ground, sturdy, a buffer from the wind, close to a food source and able to contain their nest.
But what do they know of the letter A or the word CHIROPRACTOR or even what a chiropractor does? Now imagine Bob the sparrow who has made his nest in the A of the CHIROPRACTOR sign conversing with Steve the sparrow – his next door neighbor – who made his nest in the ampersand between the words DELI & PHARMACY.
They have built their entire lives within these structures. Bob likes the flat surface of the bar in the A while Steve waxes eloquently about the curvature in the base of the ampersand. Each believe their foundations to be axiomatic. Each can articulate, with whistles and chirps, why they feel their particular structures-of-choice are superior and have better nest-building attributes. Yet it does not appear that they worry too much about it. As the sun comes up they flit and sing and fly about with simple joy.
We might say, “Well, what do Bob and Steve know of human language? Of A’s and ampersands? Of chiropractors and delis and pharmacies?” It’s true there is much that they simply have not the capacity to understand.
But what’s absolutely hilarious about all of that? I can’t build a bird’s nest! I don’t even know what kind of birds they are! I don’t understand what the birds are saying when they sing! I can’t even fly. And even more so, when I hear all the sparrows who live inside the letters above the grocery stores gleefully worshipping the Lord as the sun comes up, I cannot help but wonder what they think of us below as we are going in and out of the store in such a frenetic pace.
Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
Jesus used birds as an example of the kingdom of the heavens. I think it would be wise to “consider the birds of the air” and realize just how much we barely understand them as a prelude to discussions about things our heavenly Father has not specifically revealed to us. Our metaphysical constructs are like the letters and symbols in which sparrows make their homes.
In the Logos, in the Word, we too live and move and have our being. We tuck ourselves inside the nooks and crannies of the Logos and think we understand Him in all His syntactical mystery. “My ampersand trumps your semi-colon!” we Tweet back and forth to one another.
But what do we really know? Something similar to what the birds do about the words they inhabit. We too know that the Word is high above all earthly tumult, sturdy, a buffer from storms, a gracious provider of food and able to contain our nests. With that, we should be content.
The little sparrows know precious little about the etymology behind the things in which they make their nests, but they are content nonetheless and trust in their heavenly father in a beautiful and simplistic way.
Do philosophers mention birds? They are, in my estimation, the original philosophers of the kingdom of the heavens. Who better to understand the heavens than those who daily inhabit them?
“Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth.” Job 40:4