Bird by Bird

One of my favorite stories by Anne LaMott, a writer, is her tale about her 10-year-old brother’s elementary-school bird report.  As so often is the case, her brother waited until the night before the report was due to start.  Feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of writing about so many birds in just one night, their father counseled him, “Son, just take it bird by bird.”


Our Gospel lesson for this coming Sunday, March 8, 2009 is Mark 8:31-38.  As you read it, you will find that Peter quickly gets overwhelmed with the things that Jesus was now saying about suffering, cross-bearing, and death.  Up until that point, Jesus had kept this part of the story under wraps.  Now, as this teaching slowly starts to become more and more public, there is resistance.  It is overwhelming, especially to those who love Jesus the most.

What can we do in the face of great and life-altering change?  In the news of a diagnosis, or a divorce, or a job loss, or a pregnancy?  We do the only thing we can do.  Take it bird by bird, day by day, moment by moment. 

As the Gospel passage ends, we are reminded not to be ashamed of Jesus’ words. Whether it’s wonderful or frightening, our faith tells us that we cannot hide from the truth. The truth is that we have a God who did suffer and die for the redemption of all the world.  Our individual trials, then, are lived bird by bird, day by day, and moment by moment, with a God who has already been there.

Son of Man, we pray for the faith to trust you…especially when things are bird by bird.  Amen.

One Response

  1. Heidi, This is a wonderful story, thank you for sharing with me.
    Amanda K

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