The Prayer of the Chicken Hawk does not get him the chicken. Swahili Proverb
I was over in Jeffers the other day checking out the construction site where Trinity Church once sat. The church is still there, of course, but has moved some thirty feet or so to the north. Well, it didn’t actually move on its own. Tamietti movers jacked it up, braced it with steel beams and sturdy cribbing, and then slid it off its foundation in one of the slickest moves I have ever seen.
I was curious how they were going to move the church all in one piece, what with the bell tower and all the crazy architectural details. Somehow I thought they would jack it up, load it on some gargantuan moving truck, and drive off to its temporary resting place.
But no; they jacked it up, strategically arranged steel beams under the floor joists, then set the smaller i-beams onto channel glides resting on two sets of larger i-beams, and then they did something totally unexpected. They rubbed down the support beams with bars of Ivory Soap, and as they winched the church along those iron bars, they lubricated the runways with liquid dish soap. I didn’t note the brand, but I would say the church was moved along with great Joy!
I mentioned earlier that I was unsure how the job would be done, but I will also say that I was really not all that worried about it. I knew the movers had the experience, know-how, and equipment to do the job and to do it right. The church was in two sets of good hands, you might say.
I should also note that my confidence in the movers was not based solely on blind faith or personal testimonials. I watched them prepare for the move. They were working with something sacred and they honored that fact. They went to great pains to ensure that nothing would be damaged by carelessness or inattention. They treated the property as if it was not just their own – but God’s. Their reverence for the task entrusted to them impressed me mightily, so I was not worried. I trusted in Tamietti; I trusted in God also. They worked well together.
So, getting back to my inspection of the job site, I happened across a robin who seemed quite pleased with the work we had done. Standing on the rubble that was once the church’s foundation, the bird surveyed the scene with peepers sharpened – on the lookout for any edible morsel that should have the misfortune of catching the eye of the cheery little avian on site.
The meal is there. Of that the bird is certain. It knows the heart of the Creator, and so the robin does not fret. It prays for prey, but it does not just pray. It looks with eyes wide-open, seeking sustenance not only for itself, but for his children – his hatchlings.
It seems to me birds have a good way of understanding prayer. To act is not to doubt one’s prayer (or the God to whom one prays). We don’t pray to give God direction (OK, Lord, here are your marching orders for the day …). We pray to take direction from God.
Too many people pray, I fear, begging God to do this or that, but fail to rise up from their knees (or their bums – however one chooses to plead) to do the “thy will be done” part of their supplications!
A raptor looks for and finds the food it needs for the day. It does not can, refrigerate, or freeze what it finds; it seeks, finds, eats, and shares.
I’ve been told that some tricky birds lay their eggs in robins’ nests so the rusty-breasted thrushes will hatch and feed birds that aren’t even their own. Robins don’t seem to care; they are not resentful, nor do they act put-upon. They hatch and feed all comers, for that’s just what they’re called to do!