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  • Writer's pictureCoco

Coco Calling No.166 - When Life and Death is in Your Hands

My owner’s always a busy fellow. Autumntime is when he goes around the garden (and up a ladder on the side of the house) cleaning out all of the nest boxes. He has to do it because the birds will need to use the boxes through the Winter for roosting and then again for raising their young next year. It’s quite a job. The nest boxes on the side of the house contained 16 sparrow nests and elsewhere many other types of bird had made use of the boxes provided. In most cases, all of the chicks had fledged successfully; however, in a couple he found the remains of young birds for whom life had been so very short.

It’s always very hard to understand why the unlucky few fail to make it. That applies to all kinds of life-forms including young parrots and humans. And that’s something we’ll never fully comprehend during our lifetime here on Earth. The best we can do is to believe that our life experience, whether long or short, forms a part of a much longer process. Once we’ve experienced physical life, we then go on to something else.

Having finished cleaning out the final nest box, my owner was returning to our house when he saw a small Goldfinch being chased by the local Sparrowhawk.

This Sparrowhawk is a constant menace in the garden, causing all of the resident birds to live on the edge of their nerves. Well, the Goldfinch flew into one of the greenhouses which is currently a jungle of tall tomato plants. The Sparrowhawk followed it in with my owner in hot pursuit. As my owner entered, the Goldfinch flew back out over his head. But the Sparrowhawk wasn’t quite so clever and couldn’t find its way out. And my owner went straight in and caught it with his bare hands. He held it tightly and looked straight into its piercing eyes. Holding it up in front of his face, he said: “Now you know what it’s like to be the prey.” The bird stayed silent and motionless. My owner looked at its short neck. It would have been so easy to give it a quick wrench and dispatch this villain for the sake of all of the other birds in the garden. The power of life and death was literally in his hands.

A moment passed as the two of them stared at one another, with different thoughts flashing through my owner’s mind. Until eventually he came to realise that the whole question of life and death was very much bigger than he would ever be able to comprehend. Here on Earth, we only get to see a tiny part of the overall picture. God and Jesus could so easily have taken out Judas Iscariot before he betrayed Jesus, but they didn’t. They allowed events to follow their course. By killing the Sparrowhawk, my owner would have been interfering with something much bigger than he will ever be. So, in the end, he walked for a quarter of a mile down the road, still clasping the Sparrowhawk in his hands before eventually releasing it.

Like it or loath it, this Sparrowhawk was still a part of God’s creation. The Bible reminds us of that:

“Through Him all things were made…” (John 1:3)

“For by Him all things were created: things in Heaven and Earth, visible and invisible…. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)

Sadly a lot of humans interfere with God’s creation and cause a great deal of harm. Many justify their actions by calling it “sport” or “tradition.” Others destroy natural habitats in pursuit of profit. Sometimes, they even go as far as acts of “genocide” against creation arguing that as it’s all part of their traditional heritage, what they’re doing is fine. Even in a quiet place like the Faroe Islands where over 1400 dolphins were recently slaughtered in a killing frenzy that turned the sea red.…

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Had my owner killed the Sparrowhawk, he would have added his name to the long list of humans that get it all so very wrong. And how so many humans must make God and Jesus weep from the very bottom of their hearts because it was never meant to be like this….

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

Fortunately, not all humans are the same. And if humanity and creation are to survive here on Earth, then their voices need to be heard, -loud and clear. Humanity needs to see things differently; to take on a brand new mindset so that it honours and reveres creation instead of choosing to destroy it.

“Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the “garden” in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect……In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of our Creator.” (Pope Francis).

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