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Group Projects

As they untied the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you doing that?” They explained that the Rabbi needed it. Then the disciples led the animal to Jesus and, laying their cloaks on it, helped him mount.~ Luke 19:33-35

There has been a changing of the guard of sorts among the blackbirds in our neighborhood. Throughout the winter, crows would stage in large numbers in the trees around us, en route to their overnight communal roost along with hundreds of their siblings. But now is the season of courtship, breeding, and nesting so the crows have paired off and seemingly disappeared as they protected their nests with secrecy. In their place are smaller black birds, Common Grackles. These noisy flocks appeared nearly instantaneously after a couple of pioneers showed up while the snow was still in piles. But after only a few weeks, they, too, are pairing off to raise young. Three birds in our yard have caused us to wonder what their arrangement is.

At first, we wondered if all three were working on a the same nest as we saw them carrying long bits of dead grass up into the nearby pine trees. Perhaps, like Chimney Swifts will do, this was a pair with last year’s offspring working together to hatch and raise young this year. When we noticed a second location where a nest was being built, we realized that we might be seeing a male with two mates. Of course, we also may be seeing more than three birds, just only three at a time. The bottom line is that there are multiple ways to achieve successful continuation of the species into the next generation. Sometimes life requires group projects.

Sometimes we are quick to judge how others choose to arrange their lives with others. But when we accept that there are multiple paths to the same destination, we might begin to understand that as long as we are heading to the same location, the way we get there doesn’t matter so much. If we pay attention and are open the right sort of provocative questions, we surely will notice that as we progress, we move closer to those who are progressing from other directions even as we move away from those who stayed put along the path we have traveled. And in the end, we need to learn the truth that none of us travels alone. We have been helped by those who showed us the way, those who walked with us, and even those who demonstrated by their journey what is a wrong way. We are all a group project.

Prayer: Jesus, you didn’t travel alone. Help us locate the colts you send us for. And thank you for allowing us to help you get on them and ride. Amen.


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