Sidey’s weekend theme is “A little bird told me.” Not many themes could or would please me more. You all know, if you’ve read much of my stuff, or viewed any of my photos on my photo blog, that birds are among my favorite creatures in all of creation. There is such a huge variety of them on earth. Combine that with all the extinct varieties and those of the imagination, and the number is endless. On seeing the theme, the thought came to me, that when a little bird speaks to me, I only hear good news.
It came to pass
In the outer courts of God’s Holy Temple –
among the money changers engaged in sanctioned thievery,
the noise of bleating sheep and goats, the cry of calves,
the sound of bargains being made for sacrifice,
the gossip of women and arrogant men –
In their place, ignored, were the listening ears.
and watchful eyes of the least of all, above the rabble,
the quiet little birds.
City-dwellers, country folk, men and women,
Rich or poor, Jews and gentiles, any who were
allowed, pushed and shoved their way through
the crowded first gates to the outer court, the truly pious
trying to ignore the noise and smells around them. The
self-righteous looked down their noses at those beneath them,
and at the same time, pinched them closed long enough to
block out the stink of the animals, and the unwashed,
sinful poor. Deeper inside to the sacred courts,
where the rich, and educated few
were allowed, the favored men hurried, to fulfill their
Temple duties, and to study the Holy Scriptures and
argue the finer points of the law.
There came to pass a day when among the crowds,
a carpenter, named Joseph and his wife, known as Mary,
brought with them into the Temple their infant boy
to be presented to the Lord, according to custom,
and following the law that the first-born male child
shall be blessed, as holy to the Lord. In proportion to their
wealth, at the sacred rite, faithful parents offered
up a sacrifice, a gift of thanksgiving to the Giver of the gift.
Having little money, nor a spotless lamb,
(the most extravagant, the most righteous of gifts), Joseph
purchased, out of his poverty, from the money-changers,
(who grew fat and rich from their practices),
the Temple coin required to pay for the sacrificial
animal they could afford. He bought a pair of
turtledoves, and delivered them up to the priest,
who accepted them as a menial, small sacrifice,
to the Lord.
There were few who paid attention to the common
ceremony. The little birds, perched high in the rafters,
took note of what was happening below them, because
they saw the righteous and kind old man, Simeon,
who shared the crumbs of his meals with them,
take from the mother her child named Yeshua. They watched as he
lifted the child, and wept, calling out his praise to the Most High
God, for he knew his eyes beheld Salvation in the
child he held within his arms.
The little birds saw and heard.
Quietly, they watched, in growing awe as the devout
old prophet Anna hurried nearer to Simeon, for
she too had heard the declaration of this righteous
man, and within her heart and soul felt the quickening of
the Holy Spirit. She rejoiced and shouted to all
who would listen, this good news that the end of
suffering for them all was near, to be made manifest in the
life of the baby that was to be scorned by many and acknowledged by few.
The knowing eyes of the parents, the weeping praise
of Simeon, and the shouted joy of Anna, rose
like the smoke of sweet incense to the little birds
hidden in the rafters. Moved by the Spirit of
their heavenly Father, the little birds swept down,
swiftly to utter the news that they had heard
into the ears of the two turtledoves, awaiting
their end upon the altar. Somehow
the little birds knew that what they head and saw
could bring calm to their frightened hearts.
The pair heard a frenzied fluttering of many wings,
then a whisper of love and good news. It would not be
much longer, they heard quite clearly, that such
suffering as theirs and of all who carried burdens
so hard to bear would come to an end. They opened
their eyes and knew that peace was coming. For
just a moment, they saw a light fill the Temple,
shining through the eyes of the child for Whom they
were to give their lives. There was around them now
only love, all fear cast out, all darkness gone. Closing
their eyes, they sang their own song of gratitude
for what they saw, and what they had heard and what
they believed: For what the little birds told them.
As ever, my Gentle Readers, I wish you enough. . .