Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
In the 1970s my dad introduced me to the life long delight of birdwatching. He had purchased a RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) pocket book about garden birdwatching from a newspaper advertisement. To me a bird was just a thing with feathers, but as I read about the many species and their intricacies I was hooked. I looked at our front and back gardens with new excitement, it was a haven for birds with trees and the many shrubs dad had planted. My first bird was the Blackbird that nested in the privet hedge in our front garden, but the Wren I saw in the back garden one morning was a new find. It wasn’t that Wrens are rare but rather I had never seen one before, I had never looked for them before.
The Wren was famously depicted on the back of the farthings that we had in old Marvel tins, beside old pennies and thruppences. The Wren is the most common UK breeding bird. It is a tiny brown bird. It is almost rounded, with a fine bill, quite long legs, very short round wings and a short, narrow tail which is sometimes cocked up vertically. For such a small bird it has a remarkably loud voice.
You might be asking, “Alan, why the ornithology lesson?” The reason is that I believe that there are things that we can learn from the humble Wren, that we can apply to our spiritual walk. The first thing is its relative obscurity, these birds are tiny fast moving brown specks in the undergrowth and usually go unnoticed by most folk. In this world obssessed with media and perception Christians are very much like Wrens, they go unnoticed in the ‘undergrowth’ of life. The second thing about Wrens is that for a tiny bird they have a very loud voice, it is a musical sequence in short sweet bursts. When I first heard a Wren on a wildlife tv programme I realised I had heard them singing before I knew what they were. In this we have a challenge to our walk with God, we may be relatively obscure but are we heard? Is our testimony like the Wren’s voice, attractive and impossible to ignore? Another thing about Wrens is their alertness, we too need to be forever alert to our surroundings. Our enemy, Satan stalks us every day, just as the neighbourhood moggy stalks the Wren.
Dear reader, we are called to be witnesses for Jesus in our homes and communities, (Mark 16:15). We have a duty to proclaim the gospel, in words and in good deeds. Let us sing like Wren, beautiful melodies of our Saviour. While we do this let us endeavour to be heard, staying constantly alert of danger from our Enemy just like the Wren.