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Phillip Burgess: Singing with the birds

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” Matthew 6: 26,34

Over the past few weeks and months we have seen images of people rushing into harm’s way in order to selflessly aid and help other individuals.
Many times, these “first responders” put their own lives and well-being in jeopardy. Their stories are seen on the TV and read in the newspaper. Today, however, I want to speak for some “heroes” that cannot speak for themselves.
Recently on my drive into work, I approached the stoplight at the intersection of Fulton and Innes Streets. The light had just changed to red and I was the first in a line of cars to stop.
I saw a car enter the intersection just as a small bird was swooping down.
Unfortunately, the bird and the car collided and the bird fell hard onto the pavement in the middle of the street.
The bird flopped around trying to regain flight, but eventually just stopped altogether.
The drivers in all of the other cars witnessed this event, and fearing the worst for the bird, I was about to leave my vehicle and move the bird into the church yard.
Suddenly, however, other birds swooped down and began circling the seemingly lifeless bird on the pavement.
Some were flying while others were nudging the bird with their wings and beaks. The bird revived a bit and managed to walk a few feet closer to the curb, but still not out of harm’s way.
These birds, natures “first responders” were placing their own well-being in jeopardy as the light was about to change green.
The light turned green and not a single car moved. Yes, it was nearly 9 a.m. and I am sure that everyone was anxious to get to work, yet no one moved.
The drivers just sat there watching the rescue mission of the injured bird and his helpers.
No one, it seemed, wanted to disturb the drama taking place before us.
As the birds continued their swooping and flapping, suddenly the injured bird made a valiant effort and took off landing in the nearest tree well out of reach of traffic or predators.
With the intersection now cleared, I am sure that we all said of prayer of thanks, and drove on our way.
I don’t know about you, but witnessing that miraculous event made a huge impact on my day, and indeed on my life. It is something I will always remember.
God truly sees and takes care of all of creation…even an injured bird in the middle of Fulton Street.
So today, on behalf of the injured bird and his friends, I want to say “Thank you” to all of the drivers in the other cars who did not simply hit the gas and continue on their journey.
The bird’s day is much better, and so is ours.

“I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. “
—Civilla Martin

Dr. Phillip Burgess is the director of music ministries at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

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