Members of the Alligatoridae family took me through transformation in the water. Lion came with fire. Finally, birds of the air greeted me. Good Bird, Bad Bird and Ugly Bird made quite a totem.
I enjoyed Good bird’s pleasant song and was indebted to Raven for recovering mystery, for me. Still, what could Ugly Bird’s repulsive invitation possibly offer?
We so readily name things as good and bad. If we rise up to look down on the whole of our lives; however, our perspectives change.
Vultures cleanse our environment. They grunt and snarl, yet their primary purpose is not vocal, but rather to remove what has died, so infectious diseases do not spread. Ugly Bird opens the way to joy.
We invite dis-ease when we hold on to people, places and things that though once served a beautiful purpose in our lives, now inhibit our growth.
Jesus never said, “Worship Me,” but instead, “follow Me,” pointing worship to the Father. Because he was the way, His words offered inclusiveness to all. And whether we hung on to Jesus in a literal sense or more abstractly, as sacrificial love, the point was to move forward in generosity toward creation and other people.
Declaring beliefs may be a necessary developmental stage, but following is the truer worship. And when our words fail to match our character, we turn people away, far, far away!
Still, through their daily expressions, many little christs create a quiet consciousness that brings life to a world headed toward self-destruction. They are gracefully living into the changes all around us.
Vulture saves us from communicable diseases. Though our discernment becomes sharper, we drop fanatical, self-righteous and us vs. them attitudes. Instead, we meet the deep wounded-ness of our world with our gifts, talents and skills.
Finally, after Ugly Bird has exhausted us, we come back around to Good Bird. Then, our songs hold both sweetness and depth. We are more understanding, because we have been thoroughly embarrassed by speaking the name of Jesus, but refusing to follow him to the cross.
Consider the Passion story alongside your life. To which characters can you relate?
None of us is perfect. How might you practice forgiveness, during this season?