Perhaps like many people, I have had some difficulty sleeping in the last few weeks. I have often heard bird song about 5am- I think maybe a persistent blackbird singing enthusiastically away!
Recent weeks have been tough. In our local community there has been so much heartbreak and sadness. There have been many tears.
Internationally, the invasion of the Ukraine, under the orders of President Putin has caused so much heartache that I can only watch in small doses. The fighting and casualties, the suffering of students abandoning their studies and taking up arms, the shelling of civilians, bewildered, crying children, families separated and so many refugees on the move with only the clothes they stand in. We pray and do what we can, but feel so very helpless and despairing.
So at 5am, my question is often, why are the birds still singing? Do they not know what is happening, that so much sorrow and sadness has engulfed the earth?
And yet, maybe they sing at dawn, because they trust that after the darkness of night, the sun will still rise. After the cold and the dampness, the warmth of the sun will still transform the landscape. After the long hours of sleeplessness, there is still possibilities of rest.
The verse from psalm 126 is true: ‘ Those who reap in tears, will reap with songs of joy’.
It is true, but not always our experience right now. The faces of the sick, the stressed, the traumatised, the terrified are right in front of us. We cannot forget. We should not forget. Our feelings of anger and disgust at the pain of unjust conflict and injustice is lasting. But we hope that eventually one day it might be different. It might be in heaven itself, but one day there will be peace. And meantime there is hope, and that is why the birds sing.
Gracious God, sometimes the suffering and evil in this world weighs heavily upon us, and we despair. Yet we remember that You, Lord Jesus, faced the powers of darkness on the cross, and that forgiveness and love overcame. When the world seems so dark, please send your holy spirit, to remind us that the light still shines. And when we hear the song of the birds, may this bring hope to this broken and weary world, and make we stubbornly resolve each day to pray and work for peace, Amen.