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  • Writer's pictureCoco

Coco Calling No.170 - The Safety Net of Jesus

We parrots love a good story, so I’d like to share one with you this week. Deep in the heart of Western Canada, a life-long atheist went out for a trek in the wilderness.

“What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful birdsong!” he said to himself. As he continued walking along the banks of a river, he suddenly heard a loud crashing sound in the undergrowth. He looked around to see a seven-foot Grizzly Bear charging straight towards him. The man ran as fast as he could, but looking over his shoulder, he saw that the bear was rapidly gaining on him. And then, with his heart pounding furiously, he tripped and fell over. Just as the bear was about to leap on top of him, the atheist cried out: “Dear Father in Heaven. Save me!”

Time suddenly stood still. The bear froze, and a brilliant light shone down upon the man from above. A voice boomed out:

“You’ve denied my existence all your life. You’ve taught others that I don’t exist and even argued that creation resulted from a cosmic accident. Why should I save you now?”

To which the man replied:

It’s true. I’m being a complete hypocrite asking You to treat me as a Christian now! I tell you what, could make the BEAR a Christian instead?”

“Very well” replied the booming voice. The light went out, and the sounds of the river and the forest resumed. And the bear quickly came back to life, put its front paws together, bowed its head and said:

“Dear Father in Heaven. Bless this food which I’m about to eat, and may I be truly thankful!”

That’s what we parrots call a real “quill tickler!” And it’s a shame you can’t hear me because I have a wonderful laugh that sounds just like a witch’s cackle.

But there’s another side to this story. Because it reminds us of how the world would be without a God of mercy and love. Imagine life without the “safety-net” offered to us by Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross. Of course, we still have Grizzly Bears and all kinds of other dangers here on Earth which can lead to terrible tragedy. But ultimately, it will be a much greater tragedy if we suffer and die without hope.

We’re all flawed, just like the atheist in the story, and none of us deserve to be saved. And death will ultimately come our way. But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. Far from it. Because the extraordinary love that God has for each and every one of us is far greater than the weight of the sin that we carry around. We are simply asked to be humble and grateful, and to accept Jesus for all that He is and represents. If we learn to do that, then we’ll have a much happier outcome than the hapless atheist.

Unlike the God in my story, Jesus will never play games with us. His love is totally genuine and steadfast and can never be exhausted. He didn’t die on the cross to save a few favoured friends. He died because He wanted to save all of us without exception. And that’s a fact which is so massive, so overwhelming, so mind-boggling and so seismic that the weight of it all is enough to send me crashing to the ground, perch and all!

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without a compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.”

(Dieter F. Uchtdorf: 1940-present: German aviator and airline executive).

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” (Saint Augustine: 354-430: theologian, philosopher and Bishop of Hippo Regius [Roman North Africa]).

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1a).

“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

(1 John 4:8).

About my book:

“The Random Thoughts of a Christian Parrot” is published in hardback, 176 pages in length, full colour throughout and featuring more than 100 photographs. The ISBN is 978-1-5272-9810-1 and copies cost £12.00. The book includes a Foreword written by the Bishop of Crediton plus a total of 83 reflections which can serve as your “parrot thought of the day.”

Copies are available from Amazon, some bookshops or direct from me! If ordering direct, please enclose a cheque for £12.00 made out to the “Oakmoor Group of Parishes” and send it to: Coco the Parrot, Parkstone, George Nympton Village, EX36 4JE, U.K. Postage and packing is free!

100% of proceeds will go towards funding the work of local North Devon parishes, and particularly a new Outdoor Church initiative located on the edge of Exmoor. My book will make a great Christmas present for friends and family!

This is what others have to say about my book:

“I grant you, a book by a feathered friend is novel, but with this parrot, faith finds its wings. It is intelligent, kind and spiritually perceptive – more than can be said for some religious functionaries. I wonder if dog collars come in parrot sizes?”

(Dave Tomlinson: Priest, author and broadcaster)

“The mix of humour, challenge, biblical text and photography along with the views of our perceptive parrot, make this book a unique reflection on our twenty-first century lives.”

(Right Reverend Jackie Searle: Bishop of Crediton)

“Sometimes human wisdom just isn’t enough. Standing or flying outside our messy, confusing, but glorious lives, Coco the parrot helps us to look afresh at the things that really matter and the ways we can re-connect with God’s love – so that we too can soar!”

(Giles King-Smith: Acting Archdeacon of Barnstaple)


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