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The Word on the Week

Multiple Martins

On Thursday evening the weather conditions were just right. Clouds of insects were being blown out of the trees to be devoured by many House Martins. The latter produced an aerobatic display second to none as they relished having a time of plenty.
Normally these House Martins mix with swallows but this year the swallows are in short supply. Of course the speed of their flight makes identification difficult but when the feast is over they perch on electricity wires where it is possible to make a more accurate analysis.

We welcomed the return of our breeding pair who set about repairing the remains of last year’s mud nest in the apex of the garage roof. In truth there was not much left to work on but in the space of 3 to 4 days they now have a habitable nest. Recent rains enabled the Martins to access a plentiful supply of mud and from today’s forecast they should not have much difficulty in getting sufficient material to complete the “topping out”.

On the ground our fox families are getting bigger and bolder. Since the passing of our resident collie, Holly, old age having caught up with her, a large dog fox has taken to strolling through the garden at dusk. Perhaps that is the same one which a neighbour saw attacking a cat as it crossed the road in front of him.
With baby foxes to feed they seem to be expanding their diet. This may explain the disappearance of the farm cat and its three kittens although all hope has not yet been abandoned for them.

Numerous animals appear in the Bible usually to illustrate a point by comparing the animal or bird’s main characteristic. So in the case of the fox, a sly animal, the Lord Jesus likens King Herod’s behaviour to it (St Luke Chapter 13 verse 32). He had reacted against John the Baptist’s accusation of adultery putting John in prison. Then, making a foolish oath at his birthday party, he had to agree to the beheading of John rather than lose face. When he heard of the fame of Jesus and learned of the miracles he had performed Herod came to the conclusion that this was John the Baptist raised from the dead (St Matthew Chapter 14 verses 1 to 12).

Possibly this superstitious thought was still lingering in his mind some time later when Pilate sent Jesus, now a prisoner on trial, over to Herod who wanted to see him perform a miracle. In the cross-questioning and mocking that followed Jesus did not open his mouth (St Luke Chapter 23 verses 8 to 12). This fulfilled what Isaiah said many years before in Chapter 53 verse 7. Jesus was “obedient unto death, even death on the cross”. He accurately fulfilled the scriptures.

St Paul brings the quote up to date; “Therefor God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians Chapter 2 verses 8/11).

Till that day dawns there is an opportunity in this day of grace, day of opportunity, to be like the Martins and prepare in advance by bowing the knee to Jesus now and move into a life of obedience serving him.