Sparrow at Sunset

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

The slanting light of the setting sun gilded this ordinary sparrow and transformed it into a delicate work of art. Rightly so. We err if we take them for granted. We may see them peck around in the dust and scratch in the chaff, and dismiss them as trivial little nuisances. Yet each of these feathered creatures is a kind of miracle. It can see more dimensions of colors than we can. It can sense the earth’s magnetic field and navigate by the constellations. Its respiratory system is twice as efficient as ours. It can tolerate extremes of cold, perform feats of endurance, and sniff out both pleasure and danger with a sensitivity that dwarfs our own. The most common sparrow is an extraordinary being. The New Testament gives the sparrow its due when it says that God has his eye on each of them, and none can fall without his knowledge and consent. Matt 10:29. But it takes that love and protection away again when it continues to say that “you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matt 10:31. Maybe so, but it would have been better to have added, “and you therefore must do likewise, and keep your eye upon the sparrow, and value it as you value every gift of God.”

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