Thursday, March 14, 2013

Praise God, Little Birdie!

So there's a new pope.  And he's chosen the name of Francis, presumably in homage of the widely renowned saint.  I, personally, like the sound of that...because St. Francis was a walker.  He could've easily had a blog about walking, and it would've been a much more interesting read than this one.  For example, he was known to stop a walk (making his fellow walkers wait) and give sermonettes to birds.  He would ask the birds to listen & would say things, like "Birds, you should praise your Creator very Him...He gave you feathers to clothe you, wings to fly...made you noble among his creatures...gave you a home in the glorious sky...He protects you, etc."  So if you're ever shopping for a bird bath & see St. Francis chiseled into it—that's why.

With that in mind, my walk-to-work goal this morning was to "preach" to every bird I saw, St. Francis-style.   I never stopped like he did.  Preached on the move.  And my sermon was much briefer.  I kept it simpler than St. Simplicity himself.  "Praise God!" was my message.  Occasionally, I added "...little birdie."  About 15 sermons total.  I never shouted out loud in hopes that the birds might actually hear me.  Didn't use my "preacher voice."  I did say the words aloud, though.  The audience was anything but captive.  All but a few of the birds were in flight at the time.   One thing I realized was how seldom I look upward when I walk—and up is where most of the birds were.  So I got a little disoriented a time or two. 

The closest I got to the birds was about 4 feet.  There were 3 robins in the library's patio area, hanging out behind a they didn't see me coming.  They took off as soon as I turned the corner, but not before a quick sermon, "Praise God, birds!"  How on earth did Francis get an audience?  There must be a bit of exaggeration in that story somewhere.

Yunno, I rarely ask readers to try something that I've tried on my walks...but I'm going to this time.  I can't explain the feeling I experienced asking God's creatures to praise Him.  It was surprisingly uplifting.  It reminded me of the 2nd to last Psalm in our Bibles—with this exhortation: "Praise the Lord from the earth...wild animals and all cattle, creatures that crawl and flying birds." (Psalm 148:7-10).  So try it.  It's not just Franciscan, it's Biblical!  

P.S.  Picked up a clear, plastic cup from the lawn near the art bldg.  It had frozen liquid in it that looked like a lot like beer. 

P.P.S.  My dream is to one day see a pope preaching to the birds.  


  1. I like this idea, Wade! I should have preached to the woodpecker on my roof, Saturday.
    ~ Sheila

  2. Wade, I am so enjoying your blog posts. I fell in love with St. Francis long ago when as a Lutheran I discovered a statue of him half-standing, half-lying at summer choir camp and then was taught his "O Lord, make me an instrument." We still love to sing that around here these days. And Thomas and I just finished memorizing Psalm 148; it is truly beautiful and demonstrates the love that God has for all His creation and how we should with every breath praise the Lord. This is another of our favorite quotes from St. Basil,"O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, even our brothers, the animals, to whom Thou gavest the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to thee in song,has been a groan of pain. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee and that they love the sweetness of life."
    PS I think Francis I might just preach to the birds! Peace and goodness. B