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Hear, I Am

Then I heard the voice of YHWH saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?” I said, “I’m here; send me!” ~ Isaiah 6:8

If it is high noon on a hot summer day in a woodlot in the northeastern United States and there is a solitary bird singing, I can make some rather safe assumptions about him. First, his song is insistent and persistent, a clear whistled sing-song that sounds like he is saying “here I am, where are you?” Second, he won’t wait for an answer, repeating the song ad nauseam, without a break. Third, he will be at or near the top of a tree, but if you can see him, you will find that he is rather nondescript, warbler-sized with a distinct line over the feature that gives him his name, a red eye.

Red-eyed Vireos are common breeders in northeast deciduous woods, so most walks in the park will result in finding one. For a bird that could easily disappear into the foliage, they practically scream “find me” with their never-ending declaration of their presence. In the spring, during courtship and territory defense, birdsong is the go-to tool for the vast majority of species. But once they are hunkered down on a nest, stealth mode takes over for most birds as an important tool to avoid predation. It is possible that these relentlessly singing males are drawing attention to themselves as a distraction from the nest. Perhaps they are singing in order to drown out sounds from the noisy nest. Or maybe they are simply so full of vibrancy that they can’t help from singing. It is possible that this positive self-regard exudes a confidence that keeps usurpers and predators at bay. Perhaps there song is actually “Hear, I am!”

Yes, confident little songster, your presence is noted and here we are marveling at your proclamation, just like we are astounded by Isaiah’s story. Who can be that comfortable in their own skin to stand in the Creator’s presence and sing, “here I am, send me!”?

Prayer: Great Choir Director, remind us again that there are no auditions, we have a place in the choir, that each of us is here to be heard. Amen.


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