Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Fear Not, Little Flock'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Fear Not, Little Flock'

Article excerpt

During the Christmas season our large family gets up at o-dark- thirty to beat the sunrise 75 miles south at the Bosque Del Apache bird refuge. The refuge is a large area of ponds and lakes and cornfields in central New Mexico. Our goal is to catch sight of hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, and cranes as they take flight to seek food for the day. We have gone in rain and sleet and snow and bone-chilling cold, but the trip wakes us to gratitude for the wonders of our world.

Each year we watch as one bird flexes his wings and rises followed by the others. My husband, Mike, always said, Hes the Grand Kahuna telling them its time to get up. There is a strumming and a swishing sound as the birds fly overhead. Sometimes they fly over us in one direction, only to retrace their flight and fly over us again. Some are close to us and we can see them as individuals, some farther away as specks in formation. We listen and watch as flock after flock ascends. I am always reminded of the birds innate knowledge that each day food is waiting for them in the river estuaries, farms, and pastures hundreds of miles around the Bosque refuge. Through the winter we often see them feeding in the pasture on our own farm, only to return that night to the Bosque.

Ive also noticed that there is never any sign of hesitation or distrust among the birds as they soar skyward to seek food for the day. We humans hear daily from the media and other sources that there is not enough not enough food, not enough energy, not enough education, and not enough money. Accepting that essentials of life, and goodness itself, are limited can trap us in a cycle of fear.

When I was growing, up my mother always reminded me that fear is a habitual distrust in God. In the book of Luke, Jesus tells us, Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32). In his translation of the Bible, The Message, Eugene Peterson interprets this as, Steep yourself in God- reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Youll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. So there is a reality we can seek, indeed steep ourselves in; an understanding of God that transcends the cycle of fear. …

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