The birds are singing this morning. Do you hear them? Or, are you dashing about preparing to plunge into the business of living on Monday morning?
I will be, too, but the song I heard this morning stopped me right smack in the middle of the madness.
Were it not for the winter that remains...
...the ice and snow on branches still...
...were it not for the cold temperatures that linger still...
You'd think that spring had sprung already, by the sound of the birds that sing.
Which makes me wonder, "Are the birds confused?"
They sing like it's spring.
It feels like it's winter still.
No, my friend. The birds know something - creation knows something - but it has taken me a lifetime to learn it. They know spring follows winter as surely as summer is followed by fall. They are singing this morning as a little reminder of that cyclical and dependable fact of Life...
...that creation is perfect...
...and that, the secret to peace...to living...is to find ones place in that flow we call Life.
Why do they get it, my friend, but it takes you and me a lifetime to do so?
That is the mystery all religions have sought to answer.
And, frankly, not so well.
The longer I live, the more convinced I become that salvation, to borrow my faith tradition's way of explaining the mystery, is not to clean me up so that I'm deserving to be around a thoroughly sanitized Savior who cannot tolerate the sight of even the slightest soiled soul.
No, that little explanation worked for the Church for centuries.
It works no more, however.
That's not to say their explanation was wrong, any more than their explanation of the world as flat with four corners. Not wrong, just limited.
My friend, salvation is that lifelong journey, the purpose of which is to take you back to that place of eternal oneness...blissful peace...and total trust in the care and provision that is God...the Seen and Heard...yes, even in the song of birds at spring. This is what Jesus was trying to say, isn't it, when he said, "No need to worry, my friends...Look at the birds of the air..." (Matt. 6:25-34).
This morning, he would have said, "Listen to the birds as they sing."
I've been listening and their song is like the budding signs of spring on Dogwood trees.
Oh, today's song is not the chorus...that'll come later. It's just the preamble...the teaser...the last chords of a hymn played just before the first words are sung. Just a little reminder of the perfection of all things and the secret to joyous, peaceful, and, yes, salvation living.
The goal of Life, my friends, of salvation...of enlightenment - is to help you learn again what all of creation knows already - what the birds sing about this morning - that you really CAN live in absolute abandonment of oneself into the care of the Creator herself.
Isn't this really what it means to be Christian? To be Buddhist? To be Muslim or Hindu or nothing at all but just awake? Isn't this what it really means to believe?
You can live without "beliefs." You cannot live without believing...without trusting...without abandoning the incessant but meaningless attempts to control and manipulate life, to be in charge even of your own life, or to secure yourself and your future so there is no anxiety or fear.
You can call this process of discovery...this journey of the soul...whatever you'd like, my friend. Salvation. Conversion. Enlightenment. Awakening. Waking up. Frankly, I don't give a damn. I'm pretty certain the Waker doesn't either.
What I'm calling it this morning is this...
The Song of the Birds at Spring...
Or, is it still winter?
I suppose it does not matter. Ready for the second stanza?
Listen and enjoy.