Refreshed after a restful night, the Sandhill Cranes began to stir, stretching endless legs. Soft purring cut through the stillness as they ensured all was well in the flock.
The cornfield was bursting in an explosion of color. Rays from the rising sun reflected off heavy dew, casting a rainbow in every direction. Shadowy mist slowly dissipated, its job completed for another night. Fiery red and shimmering gold leaves created a tapestry beyond any artistic capability. Fall had arrived.
The cranes assembled to begin feeding, preparing for the day's flight. Many miles would be eaten up by powerful wings as they continued the next leg of the migration journey. A sense of urgency permeated the flock, reinforced by the scenery. As lovely as the surroundings were, such beauty could only mean one thing: autumn was upon them and it preceded winter. They must be vigilant in their quest, pushing southward as quickly as possible, despite the urge to stay and enjoy the view.
Intent on their mission, they seemed unaware of the intruders. Others were among them, not their own kind...
The geese were elated at their good fortune. To have found a field that wielded a bounty of leftover corn was practically unheard of-usually the farmers were not so generous. The only problem was the pesky cranes that had found it first. Chattering quietly, the geese began to edge toward the birds in hopes that they would soon take flight, leaving the corn behind, unnoticed. With winter quickly approaching, they needed to take advantage of the mild fall day to forage as much as possible. Would those infernal cranes never leave? Why didn't they go find somewhere else to eat? After all, this wasn't even their area-they were trespassers, uninvited...
Noticing the geese, the males created a wall of protection around the rest of the flock. While not sensing the geese as an imposing threat, they were wary yet at the same time, curious. It was unusual to be around those unlike themselves. Maybe it was time to interact a little bit? The males consulted one another, knowing that they really needed to get back in the air. It was hard to tell how long the journey was to their winter destination. Autumn could be deceptive with unseasonable temperatures and breathtaking beauty-it was easy to become distracted, however, curiosity won out over practicality. Not without a certain amount of anxiety, they strode toward the geese.
As several of the huge birds bore down on them, the geese went on the defense. Indignant despite their fears, they squawked and flapped in an effort to intimidate their foes, which only served to pique the interest of the cranes. Sensing that defeat was imminent, the geese began to retreat: the corn wasn't worth a confrontation, regardless of the fact that the creatures were intruding on THEIR territory.
Suddenly, several of the birds broke away from the group and paired up. In turn, they began dipping, bowing, and calling out to one another. After a few rounds, they would leap, flap, and shriek some more then repeat the process.
The geese, totally stunned, stared in disbelief. Muttering unkindly, they inched toward the corn, anxious to get on with their meal. The male cranes, noting their disinterest, abruptly halted the presentation. Commanding attention, the males gathered their charges and were airborne within minutes, quickly falling into formation. With a final "kar-r-r-o-o-o" cry, the cranes faded into the distance, leaving the befuddled geese free to feast in peace.
Unfortunately, the geese missed the purpose of the gift presented to them by the cranes: the dance was intended as an olive branch, given with respect in order to welcome them as guests and honor their presence. Blinded by their intolerant attitudes, the geese found the thought of sharing a meal with the cranes unacceptable because they were 'different'. Unable to see past their prejudices, the geese rejected the cranes' efforts to bridge the gap and offer friendship, despite their dissimilarities. Efforts rebuffed, the cranes humbly withdrew.
What would the world be like if we could look past our prejudices and not judge those who are different?
...how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? James 2:1 NLT
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