For the past few weeks, a pair of Mallard ducks has taken up residence at the parsonage and church. Early this week, we noticed something even more unusual. Both were male.
This morning we discovered something even more rare, there are now five male Mallards on the property. It seems that the old saying is true: birds of a feather like to flock together.
I can't help but wonder if the boys are brothers. I like to think that they were hatched here last year. It's not out of the realm of possibility. We did have a female and male Mallard in the yard last spring. Perhaps their brood has come home to rest for awhile.
Even though Our Saviour's is located very much in the heart of the Twin Cities, we have plenty of wildlife all around. Turkeys and bald eagles can be seen on a fairly regular basis. Deer are also out and about on occasion. Bears have been spotted in nearby Indian Mounds Park. Coyotes also lurk about.
Growing up in rural Iowa as I did, I enjoy having the wildlife around. They remind me of two wonderful passages from the Word of God.
Praise the Lord, O my soul...
He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the junipers. The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens. Then people go out to their work, to their labor until evening.
How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works— he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
So reads Psalm 104, in part.
All creatures great and small, the Lord God made them all.
Jesus began to teach them, saying:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
We also have a pair of love birds, cardinals, who have temporarily taken up residence around church.
Wonders abound near God's house these days, for those with eyes to see.