Hide Me in the Shadow of Your Wings
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA
How often have I longed to gather your children around me like a bird gathers her brood together under her wings… -Luke 13:34
Once a year the little pond near our home is suddenly inhabited by Canadian geese. One pair comes year after year, and this story is repeated each time. After the male shoos away the other geese, the mother plucks out her own feathers and pads the same nest where she herself was hatched. Then the eggs are laid. Our community watches in anticipation for the arrival of the baby goslings. The mother faithfully sits on the nest hour after hour, day after day, while the father patrols the pond keeping predators away.
Seven baby goslings arrived and began frolicking in the grass nearby, swimming in the pond with mother and dad close by. When another male goose came to visit, Dad quickly chased him off, squawking angrily.
One day when the weather was rather inclement, we were fascinated to witness the mother herding her little ones across the pond and up on the rock ledge where they had hatched. She nestled them all together and covered them with one huge wing. (That wing span can be between four and six feet.)
After a few days, the family moved on to another, larger body of water where the babies will continue to grow. Adult geese are often a traffic hazard as they march regally across roads we travel and peer up at us with outstretched necks and beady eyes, seemingly questioning why we dare get in their way. They are somewhat a hazard on golf courses and other areas, but the baby goslings continue to bring smiles to all. Isn’t that the way! We may not be totally happy with the adult habits but the babies can do no wrong.
I can’t help but think of God spreading his mighty “wing” over and around us many times when we are unaware of His protective covering. We have been on precarious mountain roads when our brakes went out; we have been in other situations when we felt God’s hand leading, protecting, covering us. We are admonished to acknowledge the hand of God in all things. Just as these beautiful birds instinctively care for each other, so much more does God care for us.
“Your mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23, adapted).
Ordinary Time is a season for noticing the details of life that make up its substance. This month, we invite you to pay attention with each fresh morning to the gift of being alive. Before getting out of bed, take a few deep breaths and notice what it feels like to wake up in your own body. Engage the tasks of your unfolding day with reverence-brushing your teeth, making the bed, pouring the coffee, tending the kids, feeding the animals, making breakfast, etc. Notice the presence of the Holy in every ordinary thing. Embrace your daily routines with sacramental significance. Notice how long you can do this before your attention is taken away, and commit to returning to this simple awareness as gently and often as you can.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.