Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
The blackbird is a member of the thrush family. The male has shiny black feathers with a bright yellow beak, whilst his mate is a dull brown in colour. One habit they have is that they are early risers, always the first of the birds to awaken. Yesterday night was quite warm so that we left a window open. Sure enough at 5am this morning, forty five minutes before sunrise, Mr Blackbird burst into song waking us and rousing every bird in the neighbourhood to join him in the dawn chorus. I would like to think, as I believe St Francis would have thought, that he was offering a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to his Creator and encouraging everyone else to do the same.
Many years ago the Psalmist wrote: I believe I shall enjoy the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living Psalm 27:13. I can quite understand that for God’s goodness is all around us. In my garden the plants and flowers are in full bloom; a golden yellow theme at present but the camellia is coming into flower so that it will soon turn to a display of blues and reds, the birds are singing and the bees are supping the nectar from those early flowers.
But maybe you don’t have a garden, perhaps you live in a high rise block of apartments where the only green in sight is the plastic bags blowing about in the draught. Where is God’s goodness here? Look out of the window to see the birds using the telegraph wires and ledges on the buildings to perch as there are no trees. Is that a hawk in the sky? Whatever is he doing in the city? But don’t you remember reading that the council is employing the services of its owner to keep down the pigeon population? Or look down on your way through the city streets. Is that a daisy pushing its way through the concrete proudly showing her flower amongst the litter and rubbish? Then there was the cheerful train announcer who burst into song this morning as he warned you that your train would be delayed. He won’t make that TV talent show, but at least it raised a smile. And then what about the colleague who made a cup of coffee for you just when you needed it?
In all these, seemingly little things we can see and enjoy the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Heaven is not somewhere up in the sky where God does whatever deities do – Heaven is here on earth.
Let us join the blackbird and the other birds to sing our hymn of praise and thanksgiving to God!
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years