top of page

A Flamboyant Congregation

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.~Matthew 18:20

Collections of animals have specific names. Birds on the wing are typically called a flock. When they gather in an area where they perch together it is called a roost. A gathering of ducks floating on the water is called a raft. A group of hawks in the air, usually circling on a thermal, is a kettle. That swirling collection of blackbirds coming to roost that resembles a school of fish is called a murmuration.

Then there are the fanciful names like an exultation of larks, a parliament of owls, a charm of finches, a gaggle of geese, a siege of herons, a desert of lapwings, a tiding of magpies, a mob of emus, a watch of nightingales, a wisp of snipe, a rafter of turkeys, a descension of woodpeckers, and a personal favorite, a congregation of plovers. Some of them are descriptive like a spring teals and a fall of woodcocks. Others, like an ostentation of peacocks seem to fit, but an unkindness of ravens seems harsh. Of course you can joke when seeing a lone crow being approached by another that it is an attempted murder.

The description of a collection of birds that popped up in headlines recently is a flamboyance of flamingos. The cause was hurricane Idalia pushing numerous flamingos far and wide from Texas to Ohio to Virginia. It was certainly a flamboyant event. In Ohio there may have only been two birds, but just like Jesus promises to be present where two or more gather, there was an additional gathering of excited and grateful birders. There is certainly no promise of birders for every gathering of birds, so perhaps the promise is something different. Perhaps it is a promise that in gatherings there is the potential for community and connection that only happens when we are together. Maybe that is exactly what Jesus promised. Perhaps we need to cite this verse in situations other than small church gatherings as a comfort against feeling insignificant. The same Jesus who taught and fed gatherings of thousands was equally present with a Peter, James, and John, or dining with the twelve. And the resurrected Christ kept appearing where two or three or thousands were gathered.

We might be missing the exultation or the ostentation if we look only to finding one or more who are just like us. The flamboyance and charm of the stray flamingos was the shared experience with the fortunate and happy humans. We can’t find Jesus on a hillside or at a table the way the disciples did, we need to find Christ in our gathering, surprising us with his presence, quite possibly not looking like us or our kind. Maybe it will only be when we find our kinship with the plovers that we will be a true congregation.

Prayer: Great Gatherer, look at us here, just one or two, thank you for making us a flamboyant congregation through your presence. Amen.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page