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 much...love 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 wall...so 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.