You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
Several different species of bird live in our garden and the gardens around sharing the space with us and brightening our day with their bright colours and mellifluous song. Not all are brightly coloured, of course, the male blackbird, for example is a shiny black whilst his mate wears light brownish feathers. The robin has a bright red waistcoat to his brown suit. Their song differs widely too and is quite distinct. The commonest UK breeding bird and a regular visitor to most gardens is the wren. The wren is one of the smallest birds in the UK, with brown, non-descript feathers, dumpy almost rounded with a short narrow tail which is sometimes cocked up vertically. Remarkably it is not often seen as it has a habit of scrabbling and searching among the leaf litter and overgrown areas along the back of the garden for insects and spiders on which it feeds. That said for such a small bird it has a remarkably loud voice. Given its loud voice you might expect to notice it more often but its secretive habits together with its excellent camouflage colouring make it hard to spot since it rarely ventures out into the open ground of the garden lawn.
Perhaps that describes you in a way. Your neighbours know you are there as they see you scurrying off to church each Sunday morning – late as usual – whilst they are mowing the lawn or cleaning the car. They may have no idea what goes on in that church; in any case it is not relevant to them and their lives, is it? They may feel that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done as it is, without having to spend hours on their knees in a draughty musty old building. And for what?
Now you may feel that there is little you can do to persuade them otherwise. After all there is just one of you, a very ordinary person with no special qualifications. How can you change their minds? Indeed is it you job to do so? Should not that sort of thing be left to those more qualified, to the professionals who know all the answers?
But remember one of the distinguishing characteristics of the little wren ‘for such a small bird it has a remarkably loud voice’. God may not have given you a remarkably loud voice but He has blessed you with talents to use in His service and as Jesus said: 16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16 (NIV)
So get out there and show your neighbourhood by words deeds and actions that you are a Christian. Show them what that means to you and to the whole world. Come out of the undergrowth and start singing on the lawn.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years