"... he was very pleased."
"God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came-that was the sixth day."
As I was driving back from a meeting early Tuesday morning I glanced over and spied a pair of large birds in a tree near the river. "Oh boy," I thought, "that might be a pair of bald eagles scouting out a location for a nest near here." I was excited about the prospect as I pulled the car off the road to take a few pictures. When I stepped out of the car I was immediately disappointed to see a third bird in the tree, meaning that the "bald eagles" I thought I had seen were, in fact, nothing more than turkey buzzards. That is exactly what I heard myself say, "Oh, they're just turkey buzzards." When I peered through my zoom lens the hypothesis was confirmed as I saw their red heads.
Since I already had the camera out and ready I thought I'd go ahead and take a few photos. In a moment one of the turkey buzzards launched from its perch and spread its wings. Suddenly I was amazed by the beauty of its soaring figure with fully-spread wings. Even the bald red head was... well, I'm not sure what... but it was something that got my attention. Then it hit me - how my prejudice lurks right there beneath the surface... Had this large bird had a white, feathered head instead of a bald, red head I would have called it "noble" and "beautiful" when I first saw it in the tree. Instead, when I realized what it was, I immediately said, "Oh, it's just a turkey buzzard." Yet, the book of Genesis makes it clear, "God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased."
White feathered head, red bald head, and everything else - God was pleased with it all. Yet, for a variety of reasons too complex to name in this limited blurb, we pick and choose what we consider "pleasing." It's not that we simply decide that one is "prettier" than another. With the choices we make also comes a value that we attach. A white, feathered headed bird is somehow more important than a red, bald headed bird. Yet both
are critical in God's balance of life and plan for creation.
Whether it's birds or people, I know my prejudices lie just below the surface of my consciousness, influencing my opinions, decisions, and actions. I know I have those prejudices - we all have some sort or another. If we deny our prejudices we risk giving them more power as they unconsciously guide our life agenda. Allowing ourselves to be aware of our prejudices is the first step. Then we lift them up in prayer and ask that God's love will help us catch ourselves before our prejudices create more hurt. With time, prayer, and healing our prejudices and our lives can be transformed.
So, this week I heard the Spirit of the Lord from a turkey buzzard... who would have thought it? I pray that God will continue to remind me ways I need to be transformed by Divine Love. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.