The Word on the Week

Rathlin Island

This week was broken up nicely into a two-day conference entitled “The Mission of God” and a two-day visit to Rathlin Island which lies off the north coast of Ireland. The former declared that accurate preaching from the scriptures is ‘an act of God’ and the latter displayed the splendour of His Creation.
The sea cliffs at the Western tip of Rathlin Island are home to the peak population of breeding seabirds at this time of year. Each of the four main species has it as its preferred location. They divide the terrain according to each species preference. The Razorbills take the individual ledges; the Puffins have their holes in the ground; the Kittiwakes build on the previous years’ nests and the Guillemots colonise every flat surface they can find.
The latter vastly outnumber the others and jostle each other for the few inches of bare rock they call home!
Their single egg is conical shaped so as to prevent it from rolling off the cliff.
Some of these had hatched and chicks were visible but it will be next week before it gets busy. There follows a three to four-week period where the chicks require to be fed before they glide into the sea by which time they are able to feed themselves.
The seas around the cliffs are rich in fish swept along in the strong currents. The close proximity between the nesting sites and the food supply makes it a popular breeding location. The number of breeding pairs would be recorded in thousands. The noise and the smell ensure that predator birds keep their distance! Around noon there was a feeding frenzy when every species of bird joined in the feast as some underwater current produced a bonanza of food.

By comparison the earlier part of the week seemed unremarkable until you realise that the One who designed the individual birds (who but a God of beauty would have painted the puffins bill that colour?) and assigned the habitats for them to live is the same sovereign Lord who gave us his Word that we might know how we ourselves should live!

Just as co-existence for the Guillemot on the ledge is possible living in peace should be the hallmark of the redeemed church. Those who have experienced the forgiveness which comes from the work of Christ in dying for our sins should be able to point others to Him the Prince of Peace (Isaiah Chapter 9 verse 6). Then out of mutual gratitude to our Redeemer, in so far as it depends on us, we too can live at peace with everyone (Romans Chapter 12 verses 17 to 21).