Across the street from our house, in Dave's yard, is a very tall evergreen tree. In the tree lives what seems like 500 starlings -- I'm probably exaggerating, but it's a lot of birds.
I was sitting on the front steps this evening, waiting for the guys to be ready to leave for dinner, reading Yancey's book, when I noticed the tree. Birds were flying in and out of it, hidden by the thick foliage. They are not a quiet crowd. Each bird fusses at other birds, and rattles its wings, so much so that all of the branches of the tree shake. The whole tree shivers with activity as the birds make their annoyance with their bird community known.
I wonder sometimes if that is what God sees when he looks at a church. If I could translate bird-talk, I wonder what they are saying to each other:
"Move over! That's my branch. It's where I sit every evening!"
"Those young birds up there -- always making noise."
"This is MY tree, and I just wish everyone would pipe down!"
"Look at her -- her feathers are all out of sorts. She needs to take better care of herself."
"If she just had the proper underdown garments, she would look more presentable."
"Where's my worm? Who stole my worm?"
"If someone would just help me to look after these eggs, but NOOOOO, I'm the only one who does any work around here."
"Clean up these feathers. This tree is a disgrace. Can't somebody just clean up these feathers?"
"Those birds over there are singing the wrong songs. The wrong songs, I tell you. In my day, we all sang the SAME song, and we were happy about it."
"Psst. Did you hear what Evelyn did? I hear that egg of hers -- well, let's just say that if that baby bird ends up with brown feathers, Evelyn will have some explaining to do."
"Pipe down! Can't you tell I'm trying to meditate over here, you bird-brain!"