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The Cardinal

Amie Brodie - Boomer - Toledo, Ohio

Cardinal, Bird
Joe Lynde Photo

I saw a cardinal today, while I was out walking at the park, a pompous mark of red in the drab and leafless branches along the path. He let me get pretty close, and I thought about if he were a rare bird, how excited I would be to spot him. I’d try to get a picture and post it on my Facebook page, maybe post on some birding pages too. But cardinals are so common. We like to see them but we’re not impressed. Nobody grabs their binoculars and says, “I’m going out to look for cardinals!”

What else don’t we notice? What grace do we miss in the everyday? “What good can come out of Nazareth?” asked Nathaniel. It was just a dusty little backwater town. I sometimes think that the story of Jesus was more about his ordinariness than some grand sacrificial act. Somehow humans got the idea that we were separated in exile from God, Paradise personified, and we had to get back right somehow.

The Jesus story was to show us that no, we were all still friends. We’re integral to the creation, woven in, Divine and human alike; plain folk eating and going to weddings, talking and healing, and dying and resurrecting.

The belief in that exile goes back a long, long way, before Jesus, before the first Bible writers. Maybe the very earliest religions were not born out of fear, but out of the first stirring of wonder and reverence at the beauty of nature humans saw all around them. But then we lost it somewhere, forgot how we fit in, and began to try to change it all, humanlike; our busy hands and brains unable to leave well enough alone.

I tried to look at that cardinal as if seeing one for the first time. He looked back at me and then flew off, not impressed. Humans are so common.



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