Jesus said, "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” - Mark 12:30-31
Telephone wires. They are everywhere. They cross my neighborhood like spider webs across my back porch doorway. While they don’t get tangled in my beard when I take the dog outside in the morning, they are equally as invasive and annoying.
I have never gotten used to them. Nor I have ever been able to make them invisible or Photoshop them out of my sight despite my numerous failed attempts to do just that. But I have learned to live with them. Until this happened.
I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at the gym. Not ready to get out, I took a moment for myself to say a short prayer. “God, because of your love for me I am alive today. Thank you, Amen.” Short and sweet – all that needed to be said. As I sat there, bathing in the warmth of God’s morning light, it hit me. Actually, it hit my windshield.
I sat and stared at the fresh white splat for a moment before rolling my eyes upwards toward the heavens. What did I see? An old, sagging telephone line with an old, sickly pigeon calmly taking care of its business above my car.
Yes, thank you God. I was still alive – living in a bird’s bathroom.
Life is not like a parking space. We don’t just pull into the nearest open slot and start a life. We aren’t given a choice to decide where we are born, which home, family, or country will become ours. Life is what we are given, crap et al. However, how we live life is totally up to us. We can be like a pigeon or we can be like Christ.
When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus answered the first is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbors as yourself. It’s pretty basic stuff. Through love, Jesus teaches, we are able to actively participate in the world in a way that is able to please both the Creator and the created.
This can be difficult to do at times; especially when life dumps on you. By practicing the kind of love that God asks of us – a love that is inclusive, forgiving, and non-judgmental – can help us to bridge peace throughout our communities. It allows us to live in harmony with God and others in spite of where we reside.
I wonder if this love applies to pigeons? Especially to the one mocking me from above. So, I prayed for guidance. After all Jesus says, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask anything from the Father and it will be given to you” (John 15:7). Ironic isn’t it, that in an age of satellite communication, prayer is still the best way to reach God.
Every word and emotion we send up in prayer moves through these invisible phone lines that crisscross the world and stretch across the galaxies, until they reach those angelic operators standing by. And do you know what the best thing is about these invisible phone lines?
There’s no place for pigeons to sit and do their business.
Prayer: God, thank you for loving me, and for teaching me how to love others as Jesus did. May your desire for the world be my purpose today. I offer you this prayer in Jesus' name, Amen.