Community in Action

Today while walking with Joan I was reminded of how amazing the eye is. As we walk the canal it is fun looking at the different birds and noticing the variety of markings. The striking contrast of the brown, white, and black of the Canada Geese, both male and female, sets them apart in the fields of wild oats. The green and blue markings of the male Mallard is so distinct from the female Mallard, which is mottled brown or washed-out light brown. Of course this camouflage helps keep the close-by babies safe.

    The male and female Night Herons are like the Mallards in that the female’s mottled brown coloring and its still posture makes it easily missed. The male night heron with its dark head, white breast, and white overlay feather laying down the back of its head makes it so much more visible than the female, though its stillness in the grasses or leafy trees along the trail makes it also nearly invisible.

    The stillness of the thin Great Blue Heron is good camouflage, but once it takes flight it can’t be missed with its six foot wing span. And all this is what makes me wonder why the Egret stands out so starkly from all these other birds.

    The lengthy body, large wing span, and brilliant white color allows us to see it easily, even from a half mile away. There is no difference between the male and female Egrets coloring. Perhaps nesting in the top of trees makes the camouflage unnecessary, but still when it is on the ground feeding I think camouflage would be helpful.

    These variety of markings are a wonder and it is amazing to me that my eyes can pick out the brown or grayness of these birds in the midst of brown foliage or the grayness of the jumbled rocks underneath the overpass or bridges along the canal.

    But what about my heart? Can my heart see others around me? Especially those in need? There are so many folks during this time which have some basic and some not so basic needs. It is hard sometimes to distinguish those who truly need assistance and those who are “taking advantage of the system.”

    I think it is difficult to decide what to do when confronted with someone asking for assistance. I think also that there are some legitimate needs which are completely invisible to me. I just don’t see them.

    So I need to ask God to help me see, with my heart, that hurting person. I ask God to help me know if now is the time to help them or is it better to let someone else help them or is it better just to wait.

    I don’t have a sure fire way to tell if a request is legitimate or a perception of a need is legitimate, but I do know that we must act responsibly as well as compassionately. I do ask God to continue to soften my heart, but also to increase my wisdom. I try to error on the side of mercy and compassion, but I also ask God to help that person in their deepest need, which maybe a need that is even unknown to them.

    So as we wander along the canal I thank God for vision, both with my eyes and with my heart. I thank God for the many blessings which surround me. And I thank God that I am a partner in his redemption of this creation as we try to bring the kingdom of God here on earth.

    May you see clearly this day and also give thanks for what you do see,


    Pastor Randy

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