Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Creationtide Week Three
This is the third week of a series of daily reflections for the Season of Creationtide (which runs from September 1st to October 4th). For those of you who are doing this sequentially, you should start this week on Saturday 15th September 2018. Each week we will post one of the reflections on the blog, along with a week’s worth or reflections as a downloadable PDF. These reflections offer opportunities for reflection and response each day. They are not written with the purpose of convincing the reader that the world was indeed created by the God of the Bible. Instead, it will look in a variety of ways at what it might mean to live within that created world, to help the reader to reflect on their place and role in the world that God has made, and to let that inform their faith. The daily reflections will draw on a range of writers, thinkers, poets and storytellers from across the Christian tradition.
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Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care (Matthew 10:29)
We had a young baby at the time so I was used to getting up early in the morning, but on this particular day, I was up early for a different reason. We were coming to the end of a week of lectures about Christianity and the environment where we had studied all sorts of theologians and traditions and had engaged in some wholehearted debates around these issues. On the final morning, for something a bit different, our tutors invited us to join them in the woods behind the college at 4am to hear the dawn chorus.
As we gathered, bleary-eyed in the gloom, we stood in silence. For about twenty minutes there was nothing to be heard and we began to wonder whether it had been worth getting out of a nice warm bed for this. Then the first bird, a robin, began to warm up. Before long others had plucked up the confidence to join in and as they did our tutors expertly identified them—thrushes, finches, warblers and more.
As the day grew lighter the song grew louder and at some point our little gathering turned from a study group exercise into a profoundly moving time of prayer, led by the countless creatures into whose woods we had stumbled. Most of these birds we probably wouldn’t give a second thought to if they flew past us in the daylight yet this encounter was a reminder that they are loved and cared for by their creator and they respond to that love and care by pouring out their souls and their songs in the early light of dawn.
As Mary Oliver says in her poem I Happened To Be Standing: ‘I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be if it isn’t a prayer? So I just listened’
Spend time ‘just listening’ today. How will your fellow creatures lead you in prayer?
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Rev. Rich Clarkson is Rector of five rural parishes in North Shropshire. He has degrees in Physics and Theology and recently completed his Master’s dissertation on Nature Contemplation in the writing of Maximus the Confessor. He is a member of the Lichfield Diocese Environmental Group, a JRI associate – and dad to three wild boys!