Pause for thought


IT’S AMAZING how difficult it is to settle down to any job when you’re host to a family of swallows!

We watched with interest, and a lot of clearing up, as a pair of swallows set about building a whole series of nests in our veranda before choosing one in which to lay eggs. We watched with interest as the daily tally of eggs rose to 3, then 4 and eventually 5.

Our interest continued as eggs hatched and the parents set into a fever of feeding, and the 5 chicks grew until they overflowed the nest, scrambling over each other to be fed. Yes, we watched with interest, but were well able to find time for the many essential tasks around the home.


Today, however has been different, as, during breakfast we watched utterly fascinated, those first attempts at flight, together with a variety of landings! We’d strung a cable across to assist, and all seemed grateful, but the force of some attempted landings proved sufficient to catapult other already settled chicks back into the air again

But once airborne, the aerobatic display, despite occasional misjudgements, was quite incredible, and all the time the parents were just everywhere, encouraging, correcting, warning and feeding – we just couldn’t take our eyes off, so other work suffered.

But in watching this display, I was necessarily reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 6, who was probably at the time watching something similar, as he warned those around him against worry, saying: “Look at the birds; they neither sow nor reap nor do they store food in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”

And then he asked “Are you not much more valuable than they?” And similarly, later in Matthew’s Gospel he compared his love and concern for the people of Jerusalem with that of a bird for her chicks.

So two great lessons Jesus taught from his watching the behaviour of birds; that god cares deeply for each one of us and longs for us to acknowledge him.

Duncan Burr is Licensed Lay Reader for the Anglican Chaplaincy of Costa Almeria and Costa Cálida (further detail available at and may be contacted at

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