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The Best Nest

In Christ the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in our God; in Christ you are being built into this temple, to become a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.~ Ephesians 2:21-22

Bird nests range from tiny Piping Plovers doing little more than scratching out a depression in the sand to Bald Eagles adding sticks (and other large objects like brooms) to their nests year after year until they sometimes get so large that the tree supporting them collapses under the weight. The variety in shape, size, and material is immense, but the primary purpose is the same for every nest, a place to hold eggs and rear young.

Most nests are built on or in something, but orioles build nests that hang from something. They are truly remarkable creations, like durable closed basketball nets. So strong, in fact, that in one survey, 85% of the previous season’s nests were still somewhat intact the following year. Females are the typical builders, taking up to a half-hour to weave each meticulously chosen strand into the nest. Imagine crocheting a hammock with only your mouth while hanging from a branch by your feet. Not only that, you must create it from the inside out and make it strong enough to hold you, your partner, and up to seven young. But don’t worry, you have a week or maybe two to finish. Once completed, the best way to confirm an active nest is to see it bouncing up and down, since the narrow opening into a deep basket is designed to keep the birds out of sight and protected from nest parasites and predators.

One marvel of these diverse nesting styles is that each works for the individual species and collectively they take advantage of every nook and cranny of the environment. We humans have a bad habit of believing that there is a best (or only) way to go about living. It is as if we are orioles who don’t believe that plovers or eagles are birds at all since they don’t nest the way we do. The truth is that just like the web of life, we are caught up in a grand unity where we are but one part, doing the part we are created for. The truth is that we are all built into one nest, and it is a home for the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Heavenly Dove, comfort us under your wing in the best and only shelter, the nest you have built us all into. Amen.


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