When we arrived at the Carnegie Library Building on Sunday morning for worship, I kept hearing the sounds of a little bird. I could not see the bird - I just kept hearing the bird. It was clear that a bird was stuck in the building. Following worship on Sunday, the bird had come down far enough where we could see it. It was sitting on a window ledge, looking as though it would do anything to get outside.
I saw the bird. I heard the bird. But I did not think much else about it when I left the place on Sunday. People had opened the door in an effort to try to get the bird out. Nothing was working, and I did not put much time or energy into the effort.
On Monday, there was a message on the office machine that has made me think a lot, however. One of our church members left a message about the bird. She went into detail describing the bird to me - telling me how the bird was sitting on a window ledge, how it was a brown sparrow, and how the bird could not get out. She explained how she had stayed up thinking about the bird. She wanted us to do whatever we could to get the bird out. She wanted to make sure that someone in the building knew about the bird and would do what they could to get the little brown sparrow out of the building.
This woman noticed something that many of us did not think much about. Many of us had concluded that there was nothing we could do - that the bird would be okay - or shamefully that life would be okay without one little sparrow should the sparrow die in the building.
But this woman took time to notice the bird, to do what she could to get the bird out of the building, and then to remain concerned about the bird the next day.
What if we all had eyes like hers?
What if we noticed the parts of creation around us that were trapped in something they were not designed to be in?
What if we looked - really saw - everything and everyone around us who is crying out for our help?
What if we saw the wounded veteran on the street asking us for money and then continued to allow his image to stream through our head at night, forcing us to really think about what we could do to help him?
What if we saw the man sitting underneath a plastic wrap that he built in a park more than a year ago and then tried to do something to get him out from under the wrap and into a shelter with more permanent walls?
What if we noticed - really noticed - places of pain around us and then took time to call people to find out what could be done to help?
This week, I am taking a class called "Hearing the Voice of the Poor in the Bible." My first assignment was to write about whether this is an appropriate title for the course. I concluded that it absolutely was an appropriate title. I know how many years I went to church without ever being asked to hear the voice of the poor. I know how many times I have read the text without allowing myself to be touched - without allowing myself to be penetrated in such a way that I need to get on my feet and out into the world.
My church member heard a little bird that I had decided was insignificant. She heard the bird and then went to see the bird. She then went to see what could be done to get the bird out.
There is a song about how God's eye is on the sparrow and so I know God watches me. God's eye is on every living thing. Who is God calling us to place our eye on today? Who is God calling us to see? To hear? And then to help escape?