A mockingbird has taken up residency somewhere in our yard. She loves to sing her memorized tunes for hours on end, usually starting around 10:30 or 11 pm and continuing into the wee hours of the early morning. Her voice is strong and loud, incredibly loud! Now, conceivably this could be a delightful concert composed of the top 20 most beautiful bird songs ever sung. Alas, popular bird songs, or bird songs of any kind, are not in this mockingbird’s repertoire. Our mockingbird’s particular arrangements are entirely comprised of car alarms—yes, car alarms! And not just one style of car alarms but many different types of car alarms, a top ten of car alarms, which she enjoys singing again and again and again, creating a never ending loop of maddening racket.
I must admit, at first, it was amazing to hear this bird reproduce these sounds so precisely, and yet there was something very sad about it. God has given this bird the incredible ability to accurately recreate the songs of other birds, yet this mockingbird, instead of singing the melodies of the wobbler, the yellowbelly sapsucker or even the robin, has chosen to apply her talents to mastering the jarring sounds of car alarms and it is this gift she continually shares with the world.
As I considered all this, during the wee hours of the morning, I wondered if this bird was in actual fact mocking me. Was this bird saying to me:
“Look at your own life, what is the song you are singing to the world. Consider all that you've learned, believe in, spent time reading about, watching, listening to, what song do you sing to the world – is it really any different from the song I sing, a song birthed from the world and the ways of the world? Take care to not judge me prematurely until you consider the song you're singing – take time to investigate the splinter in your own eye.”
Ouch! This stopped me in my tracks and brought to mind a verse from the Psalms that encourages us to sing a new song – a song not of this world but a song birthed from our experience of God. The mockingbird had made an excellent point! I needed to consider what is the song my life is singing day in and day out? What or who is the inspiration of the song I choose to sing to the world? Does my song reflect my identity as a child of God or more nearly reflect my role and place in the world?
When I looked up the word “mockingbird” it said, “American bird that imitates the call of other birds.” This mockingbird is not living up to its identity—but what about me? I'm a Christian, a little Christ; am I singing songs that flow out of a life lived with Jesus or like the mockingbird am I singing a tune that traces it origin to the things, the values of the world?
What about you? What is the song you sing each day for the world to hear? What gives birth to the song you sing? Who or what does your song point to? Is it time to change your song, add a couple of new verses? Does the song you sing change depending on who is around you? Take some time to consider the song you are singing each day.
Maybe the song sung by this mockingbird is really a ballad, a cautionary tale for all those who have ears to hear to hear, take note of and ponder - a gift from God.
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