We had an unexpected overnight visitor last week. We don’t normally have guests, especially during covid, but this one was in desperate need of a safe place to catch his breath and rest. Earlier in the evening there was a terrible accident in our neighborhood resulting in one fatality and one in critical condition. I should back up: I’m talking about birds. 

Two birds seemed to be racing each other and they both flew straight into one of our windows. “Slammed” is a better word. The slam made us all jump and run to the window and we saw the two laying on our patio. One died instantly, the other was still breathing. We waited to see if the red-winged blackbird would “come to” or not and when it was clear he was still alive, my husband and daughter put him in a box and brought him to the wildlife rehabilitation center on Dale. They had closed for the day but they had a sign on their door with instructions: put the bird in a shoebox in a quiet and safe place so it can rest. We gave our overnight visitor a box lined with a hand towel, a little tray of water, and the quiet of our garage. After many check-ins throughout the evening, we said goodnight and hoped to see life in the morning. 

The first thing Marc and I did when we got up was check on our guest. As we peeked in the box we saw a fully alive bird who chirped good morning to us and flew right out of the box and over to a broom. We cheered!!! We opened the garage door expecting it to check out of our little hotel and head back out into the world. But he didn’t. He stayed. And stayed.

As we stood in the garage in our pj’s drinking our coffee, we debated what to do next.  Did he need more rest? Was a wing injured? Was he scared, confused? We didn’t want to kick him out but check-out time was approaching because we needed to get on with our day. My idea was to catch him and bring him back to the rehab center because he might have an injury and can’t fly farther than he just did. Marc’s idea was to name him and add him to our collection of pets. Neither of our ideas was necessary, as he finally took one more look around and flew out of the garage. 

I thought about that bird all day and our little garage bird hotel. I thought about the story of the good samaritan and the role the innkeeper played in providing a safe place to rest. I thought about how we entertain angels, usually unknown to us, when we show hospitality. I thought about the call to offer a cup of water.  I thought about Jesus’ invitation to come and rest when we are weary.  Sometimes, like our red-winged blackbird friend, we are in need of rest. Sometimes we are the ones who can offer that little bit of grace to others. 

Being a follower of Jesus includes taking and offering rest in a world that yearns for sabbath. 

Covid is waning and the world is opening up and spring has sprung, but we might still be tired. Tired from a long season of worry, isolation, and uncertainty. It’s ok to need rest. It’s ok to take a break. Or we might be able to offer respite to someone else. We might be in a position to give a little comfort, water, conversation, and care. Today I invite you to think about rest. Do you need rest? Can you help create space for someone else to rest? May the words of Jesus invite you to consider rest as part of your faith journey these days. 

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Let us pray:
God our Creator, from whom all goodness flows: lead us by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit to keep our minds on that which is true, noble, right, pure, and lovely. Keep our hearts soft to the needs of the world, and keep our bodies ready to praise you and serve those in need. We ask these things in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Friend, Amen.