Feed the Birds: The Least of These
We’ve examined some wonderful songs and scenes from Mary Poppins that have revealed the gospel in ways that we might not have seen other wise. “Step in Time” helped us see that God has stepped into our here and now, calling out to us to step in time and rhythm with Him. “Anything Can Happen” told us that with God all things are possible and that miracles are around every corner if we’ll let them happen, if we’ll trust God and put Him first.
Today we look at “Feed the Birds,” a beautiful song that when you hear it, you’re reminded of the depth of our outreach and love that is done to glorify God. I want you to hear a piece of it real quick.
There’s two lines in the song I want us to look at today. The first is,
“Come feed the birds, show them you care,
And you’ll be glad if you do.
Their young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare.
All it takes is tuppence from you.
In the story, the son, Michael, wants to give his allowance to the Bird Woman instead of investing. Both his father and his sister see it as foolish and a waste. But the innocence of a child, the heart of flesh, sees the need that must be met and responds. Michael does the thing that doesn’t make sense to the adult, to the responsible, to the well-informed, the grown up. But to Michael Banks, he’s moved and compelled to respond to the cry of the Bird Woman.
So, think to our scripture for this morning: what sense does it make to go and visit a murderer in prison? Why offer a hand to the one who took life and was frivolous and wasteful, vengeful and bitter?! What sense does it make to respond to a call to invest in the sinful?! Because in the eyes of God, each of us is filled with sin that separates us from Him. And yet each of us is cared for and loved despite our fallenness. God in His great mercy didn’t see our separation from Him as acceptable. Jesus laid down His life for us all, both those who are grateful and those who are not. No, it does not make sense, and yet the foolishness of God is wiser than all the wisdom of the world, as 1 Corinthians 1.25 tells us.
Visiting those in prison and taking ministry to them is an act of grace and an offering of eternal life. There’s a pardon that can be offered to them that no court, judge or jury can offer them. And so like Jesus, we are sent to feed, to clothe, to visit, and to care. We are investing in something that yields very little dividends as far as the world goes. But to God, the return on the investment is eternal hope and soul-saving relationships.
The second line for our consideration is,
All around the cathedral
the saints and apostles look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can’t see them, you know they are smiling,
Each time someone shows that he cares.
It’s that line, “each time someone shows that he cares,” that gets me. I can’t help but ask myself the question, “Do I care? Am I caring? Does the love of God live in my heart and move me to act?” If we look at the scriptures, we have this tough but encouraging story in John 21, when after the resurrection Jesus comes and visits the disciples. After sharing breakfast with them on the beach, Jesus says to Peter,
15 …do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
If Peter wanted to be restored after having denied him 3 times, he would have to enter back into the mission and ministry of Christ, meaning that he would have to feed and tend the sheep of God, just as Jesus had. To feed the birds or tend the sheep means that we must continue–on the life, work and ministry of Jesus. This is the sole purpose of the Church: to be the living body of Christ in the world. St. Teresa of Ávila said,
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
It is important that you fulfill these duties as a Christian, not because we are checking off a list but because you are encountering the Lord Jesus in every loaf of bread, every coat that warms, every heart that is lifted from a hospital bed. We are formed through our encounters with Christ out in the field, in the mission field of the world.
So let’s make it real and put tires to pavement: you have the opportunity through our ministries to form and be formed.
The children’s ministry has had a theme of missions this summer, teaching our young people the importance of caring for one another and having an active faith. The youth ministry has learned much about evangelizing and doing some of it through the beach trip and is being the heart and hands of Jesus in Nicaragua as we speak, they left this morning.
Through Alan Nicely and missions we are gearing up to feed 300 folks at Trinity UMC at the Trinity Table. Beth Nowlin is prepping food and the church is looking for volunteers who will go meet Jesus at the table on July 26. The sign-up form in on Constant Contact and will be highlighted for the next few weeks in your email box. Our Habitat for Humanity project needs 3 more folks for next Saturday, the sign-up is in the welcome center and you can talk to Mike Borucki about details.
These are just a few things that you can do if you need help doing them. But you living this out in your everyday life is what we’re aiming for. Special projects are awesome, but we need boots on the ground, watchful and aware of the needs around us. Be in prayer about how you are going to influence your world for Christ. Talk to us about it and we’ll help you. So go, feed the birds and be Christ to all His creatures. Amen.