"The kingdom of heaven is like aa grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” -Jesus (Matthew 13:31-32)
You know that the Kingdom is arriving around you, when the little birds find you safe enough to build their nests within. Birds are skittish fellows. They keep their distance and watch you. They come close when you are not around and pick and poke at things. You can hear their songs for free but forget making them sing on command. Birds are jumpy and flee in response to any sense of danger, mistrust, ulterior or malevolent motives. They are really good "knowers".
Nests are symbols of trust.
A bird that has built a nest, is saying that they have decided that this is a place where they can sleep. It's a home to raise their most valuable hope...eggs. A nest is a sign of life and belief. I look for nests to tell me if we are being the prayerful people of Jesus. The kingdom is coming if the nests are being built.
It takes time for something safe to grow or be built...but when its happening, you will find little symphonies of new creation being sung all around you. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear...you can witness God among men in such displays of gentleness.
When I see a little bird start to build its nest among us at church...my heart swells with the deepest and most rewarding sense of joy. When I catch a glimpse of a little bird peeking his head up over a newly created haven; I am able to see beyond all the questions, problems, strategies, visions, administrations, preparations, complications, argumentations, dissertations and a host of other soul crowding machinations...that can accompany this pastoral life.
In those moments, the tiny chirps are like heavens lullabies....they soothe me and I find I can close my eyes and fall into a restful sleep.
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. -Jesus (Lk 12:32)