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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Making a Scene
By Regina Rupert


9:20 a.m. Ten minutes left to hustle the kids through the crowds of chatting coffee-sippers, down the stairs, through the new preschool check-in process, and to their classrooms before depositing ourselves, complete with bulletins and smiles, in the sanctuary. We had made it this far smoothly for a change, getting everyone up and dressed and breakfasted; into the car with Bible, library books, and diaper bag; out of the car, safely through the parking lot to the door of the church.

And there on the rocks lay a Kentucky warbler, dead. It was a tiny bird, maybe 4 inches, all dramatic black and gold, appropriate enough for the brilliance of the Yucatan jungle where it had recently wintered, but sadly out of place next to the pale landscaping stones, the white cement sidewalk, the somber brown brick of the church wall. This tiny neotropical migrant had just flown 1500 miles, probably across the open water of the Gulf of Mexico, propelled by its 2-inch wings, a quarter-inch layer of fat under its skin, and a mysterious drive to get to its northern breeding grounds. Looking for a safe place to land, this bird of dense forests, both northern and southern, mistook the soft reflection on the door for the flowering Bradford pear and found it instead to be unyielding and deadly glass.

I knelt and picked up the bird, gently stroking its bright feathers. Its legs, no thicker than a piece of string, were drawn up under it; the body was bowed upward as if retaining the crumpling force of the impact. This perfect, innocent creature had been smashed on the door of our church’s newly completed west-wing renovation. I was seized by an outlandish urge to bulldoze the whole thing. Did we really need this extra space, or was it there as a result of our pursuit of comfort and a desire to look successful—to the detriment of others?

“Let’s go,” urged my husband. “You’re making a scene.” Still I knelt by the bird, but this time I hollowed out a small cup in the stones, placed the warbler inside, and covered it with a few larger rocks.

I was filled with a sudden grief.

How many humans, migrating through life looking only for a safe place to land, had tried to enter the door of our church, only to be smacked in the face by a hard, invisible culture of conformity? In order to fit in here, the rules say, you have to act like us, dress like us, talk like us. Maybe these seekers had come a long way, propelled by a drive to find truth, acceptance, love lived out. Was anyone willing to go outside the church, leaving behind a desire to look successful, and kneel with them on the rocks? Was anyone willing, if necessary, to make a scene?

Jesus was. Hebrews 13:12-14 (NLT) says, “So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward
to a home yet to come.”

We, too, are passing through; we have no time for erecting rigid traditions that kill. Instead, we are called to follow our Lord in laying down our lives (status, comfort, routine) for others. And yes, that may even involve making a scene.

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This article has been read 370 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan W04/30/09
I totally agree with you. Thank you for a well written, hard hitting and acurate piece. We all need to remember just how we affect those who are not in the church. Good job.
Bryan Ridenour05/01/09
I felt like you were in the pulpit...me in the pew...and I was being given a very important reminder. Well done.
Sonya Leigh05/03/09
What a terrific devotional/teaching and fantastic exhortation! Did I mention the brilliant writing?