Song of a Bird Word on the Week 1st May 2021.
The volume of birdsong has increased considerably since the mating season got under full swing. The dawn chorus takes pride of place with the various species trying to out-sing each other. There have been calm early mornings with virtually no wind to carry the sound away. Oh for ears to differentiate the calls. Instead my almost tone deaf ears simply appreciates the choir and cannot identify the solo performers!
Of course some songs stand out from others. Take the Goldcrest for example. It may be our smallest bird but the high pitch of its song “zi-zi-zee” is guaranteed to make the hard of hearing remove their hearing aids! The penetrating sound can be heard echoing through the forest during winter.
Which reminds me of the debate we used to have with a “Twitcher” (bird watcher) colleague who, to support his evolutionary views, felt the need to maintain that birds only sang to attract a mate! He could not bring himself to acknowledge that birds could sing for pleasure, least of all could he admit that they may be singing to the glory of God! His evolutionary blinkers robber him of entering into the joy of their song.
That harbinger of the dawn, the cockerel gets a mention in the Bible (St Matthew Chapter 26 verse 34). Normally it heralds the dawn which, in summer, is far too early to get up! We had a very diligent cock who would sound the dawn alert if a car’s headlights picked out the henhouse as it turned in the dark!
Jesus obviously had an empathy with cockerels. The one in High Priest’s Courtyard knew just when it had to crow at his creator’s command (St John Chapter 1 verse 3). He crowed after Peter’s third denial that he ever knew his Lord. He crowed right on que with shattering effects on Peter who had so brashly maintained that he would never deny Jesus. His guilt crushed Peter who shed tears of remorse (St Matthew Chapter 26 verse 75).
After Jesus death and resurrection, the Lord reinstated Peter with a threefold questioning of his love in that famous conversation on the shore of the sea of Galilee. Peter’s response (he could not appeal to his record) was to recognise the Lord’s omnipotence and say “You know all things; you know that I love you”. He was then commissioned with the command to “Feed my sheep” (St John Chapter 21 verses 15 to 17).
The Apostle Peter learned his lesson well. His life was spent in feeding the Word of God to his sheep. In his letters he writes out of his rich experience of Christ – his Chief Shepherd – words that apply through all generations down to our day. They are preserved for us in 1 Peter Chapter 5 verses 1 to 11.