Sunday, March 18, 2012

Facing The Dogs-Ask The Animals Sundays

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. John 13:1

There is never a shortage of ducks and geese in Anchorage in the summertime. Midtown traffic stops while Mama goose and a trail of goslings crosses at a busy intersection. They are everywhere.

There is a park near where I work that has three small lakes. The surrounding wooded areas serve as honeymoon suites and nurseries. The more hidden of the bodies of water make good first Water Babies classes. The geese and several different kinds of ducks build nests, lay eggs, incubate them and launch hundreds of babies every year. It is interesting to watch them. In the fall they head south just prior to the return of the ravens.

The animals are sometimes forced to share the park with any number of stupid and inconsiderate humans lacking the common sense God gave ticks. Bad little boys with bows and arrows make living targets of the wildlife. People who think the posted leash law means other people with dogs- not them, have pets that chase and sometimes injure their feathered neighbors. (I have very strong opinions about such behavior and all I will say is that God knew what He was doing when He did not give me superpowers.)

On more than one occasion I have seen Mother ducks shoo the babies to safety (Did I mention we also have eagles?) while Daddy fakes a limp in order to draw a predator to himself. I have seen adult geese form a posse, stand tiptoe with wings spread full and chase vagrant canines while making the most awful racket. Where their offspring are concerned they will not go gentle.

Among my thoughts of turning some people into park benches or worse, I am also struck by the similarities between animals who nurture and defend their young and God's great care for me. I know the Creation reflects parts of His character and as I watch the ducks gently rounding up their broods, showing them where to search for food, covering them with their wings, warming them with their own bodies and defending them valiantly, even under threat of injury, I see the One who gave it all to deliver me from this body of death.

All He has made echoes His heart. When the ducklings tire I see them climb on Mama's back. They are safe and dry as she glides through the water. How often He has carried me. Weighted down with some difficulty, He lifts me up, holds me tucked in close enough for my weary soul to almost smell the warm cinnamon and cassia coming from His garments. To hear His heart, to read His thoughts. The number of times my days have been strewn with tiny miracles that cause me to stop and consider His deliberate affection, I cannot say.

Christ's last evening had come. Hell was counting down the minutes. The pieces were falling into place. The betrayer would betray. The lash would fly true to its target. The crowd that had eaten the bread and fish of His generosity would prefer a convict to Him. The Cross would be laid upon His bleeding shoulders and He would carry our sins to His death. But not before He would demonstrate His love and friendship one last time to those the Father had given to Him.

Bread, wine, a lamb, a new Covenant, lots of encouragement and talk of vines and relationship, then beloved feet in holy hands. A demonstration of love prior to the incontrovertible proof of it.

The talk of love in our opening scriptures is agape love. HELPS Word Studies defines agapáō as to prefer, to love; a "discriminating affection which involves choice and selection." Christ chose them. It was no accident and His choice of us was equally discriminating. A different translation says, "He loved them to the end (His death)."

Our dirty feet were under that Passover table. His hands passed the bread and the cup to us. He pulled us in close, reassured us, gave us last minute encouragements and went out to face down the dogs.

He is still saving me, saving us.

Today as we move closer to our Easter celebration, let us remember Christ with a love that chooses, selects and honors Him, this Savior who put us on His back and carried us across the river separating us from God.

Let us remember He loved us to the end.


Ask the animals what they think—let them teach you;
let the birds tell you what's going on.
Put your ear to the earth—learn the basics.
Listen—the fish in the ocean will tell you their stories.
Isn't it clear that they all know and agree
that God is sovereign? That He holds all things in His hand—
Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature.
Job 12:7-10

(Special thanks to Christian Jeter, age 7, for using her giftings for God-things. She will join me to produce Ask The Animals Sundays, 2/19/12 through Palm Sunday.)

Mama mallard link

1 comment:

  1. Kat - I loved that - I have seen just about every instance you spoke of ('cept the eagles) and I can attest to the way the parents protect their young. However, it is mating season among our Canadian feathered friends who live in the series of lakes here in our development. I have not slept a full night in two weeks. I sure hope they finish their rituals soon!

    And. . .it is wonderful to remember His unsurpassing love for us as He said, "it is finished."