Exodus 1 v 20 – 31/ Psalm 92
One blessing in the present situation is that the weather has been reasonable, not fantastic, but reasonable. At least we’ve had no significant rain since solitary confinement began. At the very start we actually had two or three days of beautiful sunshine and day time temperatures were quite comfortable. At one point I reached for the sun tan lotion, (no it was not in the cupboard under the stairs). The problem is I have little or no protection to the top of my head these days, so when the sun shines I’m a bit vulnerable to overcooking the scalp. A quick smear of factor 30 usually does the trick, I find out when I step in the shower if it worked or not.
I do like to get into the garden when the sun shines and I particularly enjoy eating my lunch outside. I have a small collapsible table consisting of a metal spike that goes into the ground and a circular plastic platform which clips on top, a nonslip mat goes on top of that to stop things sliding off. It’s just big enough to hold a plate of sandwiches and a cup of tea or coffee, and that’s just what it was doing on the Wednesday lunchtime.
I was sitting in my garden chair with my table by my right hand eating my sandwiches and watching my washing blowing on the washing line.
It was just as I reached for my second sandwich that I noticed it. It came from the fence on the other side of the garden, a blur of brown and red and an almost mechanical hum of wings. A Robin had landed on my table.
For a few seconds everything descended into suspended animation, time froze as I stared at him and he stared at me, I daren’t move and he daren’t move. It was stalemate. My sandwich hovered between plate and my mouth and my mouth was open ready to receive it but I knew that if I moved he would fly off.
After what seemed like an hour, but was only a few seconds, he dipped his head, picked up a few crumbs off the plate and disappeared in another blur of brown and red back to fence where he came from, and my sandwich continued its journey to my mouth.
Actually I was disappointed that he had gone and I sprinkled a few more crumbs on the plate in the hope that he would come back, but he didn’t. I felt quite honoured that he had come to my table in my garden, or was it his garden and I just happened to be here? After all the air in the garden isn’t mine, neither is the freedom that the Robin enjoys to fly through the air, they are both gifts from God so the garden is just as much Robins as mine.
I have said before that I often eat my evening meal in the conservatory with the double doors open. I seem to connect with garden, and that’s what I was doing on that same evening. I suddenly became aware of birdsong close outside the conservatory doors. a cacophony of sound bursting into the conservatory. There, in the Holly tree was a Blackbird singing his heart out, and on the shed roof was Robin singing in competition. It was like Alfie Boe and Michael Ball performing a concert in Hyde Park.
It was just as though the Blackbird and Robin were singing praises to God, saying thank you for a beautiful day, thank you for the air, thank you for flight, thank you for freedom, thank you for the garden and thank for the crumbs on the table.
I was so impressed and not to be outdone I started singing, ‘To God be the Glory great things he has done, so loved he the world that he gave us his son’.
I’m sure the birdsong sounded far better than my song but it made me feel better. I’m not sure what the neighbours thought though.
We’ve got quite friendly Robin and me, not too friendly, he’s hasn’t knocked on my door and asked to borrow a cup of sugar yet, but when I’m out pulling weeds up he is there shuffling amongst the disturbed soil, picking up worms and tiny insects, keeping his family fed and keeping his garden tidy. It’s good to read Genesis now and again just remind ourselves that God not just created human beings but all creatures on the earth, in fact he made them first and we followed. We don’t own the world we share the world with all God’s creatures