Of birds and hippos at the bandstand!

Out time together in stunning sunshine and falling leaves and birdsong began with us writing three words describing our week. These were laid on a table – a sign of what was important to us that we had come with. We then focused on what we had come to…

Considering the beauty of our surroundings, we read part of God’s parading of creation to Job from chapter 40:15-24 in the Message – a captivating account for the hippo! With that we had a copy of Ann Lewin’s poem ‘Consider the birds’ from her wonderful book ‘Watching for the kingfisher’. We took it away to read and in search of birds we could hear and ducks in the river or pond to allow a response to the poem and to added words of Jesus – see below:

Consider the birds.

That’s one command
I have no problem with.

I held a swallow once,
Knocked senseless by some accident;
Fragile body, tiny beating heart
Cupped in my hand. The, restored,
With flirt of feathers,
Off to freedom flight.
I who have scarcely
Stirred beyond these shores,
Held one who, twice at least,
Had flown four thousand miles.
No map, no compass,
Only unerring inner certainty
Carrying him over land and ocean.
A moment to treasure.

Then there are sparrows,
So common we don’t notice them;
Eight a penny, or perhaps ten
Since decimalisation.
I wonder why you didn’t tell Job
To look at sparrows, instead of
Parading the juggernauts of your
Creation. After all,
Anyone could make a hippopotamus –
No finesse there, a lump with
Four legs and a great big head –
A child’s production.
But a sparrow, there’s craftsmanship:
Those shades of brown and gold,
Arranged and sculpted into
Subtly beautiful plumage,
Each one different;
The stocky bodies full of energy,
Brisk, going about their business,
Fighting, squabbling,
Caring for their young, chirping
In incessant cheerfulness.

In contrast to the heron,
Standing more still than a
Contemplative, alert,
Waiting for the moment.
And no-one could watch ducks,
Or better still, listen to them,
Without believing in your sense of humour.

Kingfisher’s glory, blackbird’s song,
The marvel of flight itself…
The list is endless.

And we more precious.
A mystery to ponder.

Ann Lewin

Matthew 6 26 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds…
33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Back at the bandstand we brought those we were carrying to the table, writing their names there too. This led into the sharing of bread and wine with words written by Steve for the occasion:

Noah’s Ark Communion

And the animals came in two by two
Convened and expectant
It had been a harsh journey for sure
They surrounded the table
Who was to be the one?
The Lamb stirred uneasily

“This is all their fault” they agreed
The Hippo – out of kindness – began to make excuses for them
Then silence
We do need a restoration of that which was given
To put right what was wronged
To set right all relationships
They are at war with the very dust out of which they were crafted
The very fabric of what was given and this dispensation has to end.

It was the old Orangutan – so closely related – who spoke
“They have proclaimed themselves Wise when they are so dim; they have wrapped themselves with gold to cover their nakedness; they have destroyed more than they have built; they have despoiled so much of what they have touched. And therefore a willing volunteer from amongst them must come to this table and recompense for their abomination.”
Murmurs of assent in every animal tongue.

“And if this happens – the price paid – the world renewed – the red earth and the blue waters restored, we will welcome them once more at the table to eat and drink with us the gifts given.”

And then another quieter voice: “It is done. Once for all. And behold I shall make all things new.”

And so we come today because we are permitted – to this table – to share the bread within the matrix of God’s created order, with the talkative and the inarticulate, with the noisy and the silent. And we give thanks that we are invited to eat this bread.


And so we come today because we are forgiven – to this table – to share the wine within the matrix of God’s created order, with the talkative and the inarticulate, with the noisy and the silent. And we give thanks that we are invited to drink this wine.


And in those times the Lion will frolic with the Lamb, and there will be no more sorrow or tears, no more war and no more plunder because the order of the Kingdom and Queendom of God will rule for ever and ever. AMEN

And all this with golden leaves falling and swirling around us… SUCH a pleasure to be out in the midst of nature for our worship!