The Songbird That Lost Its Song
I read a really sad story this week in the news about a species of songbird that has forgotten its song. The Regent Honey Eaters population is found in Australia and it has dwindled over the past numbers of years. The younger birds cannot find any older birds to teach them their song. So they are trying to mimic the songs of other birds.
I thought this could be an analogy of how things are among many Christian believers today. How easy it is for us as Christians to also forget our songs of faith. If we don’t interact with other believers very soon we will forget the grace notes and the pauses for breath, and the presence of the Holy Spirit to make us sing. We also need to be inspired by others singing their songs of faith. Their songs inspire our songs and together we sing the hope of salvation to the world.
I recall as a much younger man my good friend Ian Ferguson reminding me if we wanted to grow strong in faith that we had to keep close to those who carried the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon their lives. In other words, stay close to the ones who sing the songs of the Kingdom
I started to reflect on how easy it must be for a little bird to forget its song if it doesn’t hear it being song by others in near proximity to it. Likewise we have a responsibility to our little ones to teach them to sing their songs of joy and faith.
It is the song we need to pass on not the blockages that we bring from our life experience. Too often we are silent among our own kith and kin. Perhaps we don’t sing our song anymore because we have lost our heart, somewhere along the line we stopped believing, so we lost our passion for Jesus. And we ended up members of a church rather that singers of the songs of hope.
Those of us who are getting older need to be reminded that we have a song to sing even in the darkest of days. If we don’t sing our Jesus song our children will learn to sing something else. The thing is the Jesus song outstrips all others and if we start singing it the tune will come back to us and before long we will be part of a new dawn chorus. Singing a tune that speaks of amazing grace, a tune that speaks of an anchor in the storm, a tune that speaks of love that never lets go. We might have to change the language to make the meaning clear but the tune carries the song and the song remains the same. How we teach the tune may differ from person to person but the tune will always carry the passion of the song and the song changes the heart.
I guess what I’m saying is we all must learn to recast the vision and the value of our song to allow the church to invest in telling the story of Jesus to a new generation. Sanctuary First is pioneering recasting part of the vision but we have much to learn from others as we move forward out of lockdown. Creating digital discipleship zones within parishes and presbyteries may well be the order of the day. These zones will have a different shape in differing localities however we will require to understand that while the substance of what we are communicating cannot change the medium and the style we use will. Our songs will have at times a different rhythm and perhaps a new harmony but the tune will be recognisable because it has the Jesus’ call to it: ’Follow me”.
Very Rev Albert Bogle, Minister of Sanctuary First