A Sunday morning congregation of black birds and brown-breasted robins have gathered in my backyard. Two squirrels nibble away unnoticed and one cardinal has made a stately appearance, perched on the fence. The grass sparkles with dew in the early sun and a spirited gust of wind just shook lingering rain drops from the leaves. I observe from my kitchen window after successfully crossing the vast hall into the kitchen, passing the children’s door, using my greatest stealth moves in order to brew water for coffee and cut a slice of espresso pumpkin bread.
I selected a small handful of cherry tomatoes from a brown paper bag that a friend sent home with us, passing along the bounty of another friend’s garden. Surely, a garden tomato is one of God’s most marvelous creations. The mass produced-store bought frauds are nothing compared to these and they cloud our minds with what real is until the flavors burst in your mouth, awakening your taste buds with glimpses of heaven. I contemplated hiding them from the other tomato lover in the house, the little one who shoves them in her mouth and lets the juices cascade down her chin, but depriving her of that joy seems like it would rob the world of its color. The males in this house have no idea what they are missing and selfishly, we will eat them all.
The feathered ones collect their fill, the after-a-rain special and I understand in this moment the intensity of his love towards us. My backyard is filled with pecking birds and perching birds and swooping birds being sustained and nourished. And I wonder if he didn’t send them for these few minutes to remind me in this quiet pause before the day fills with doing and noise. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 It feels extravagant this morning, that my willingness to rise early would be rewarded so. And that when I begin the day with seeking eyes, I will find exactly what I need.
Church bells will sound at eleven from the tower of the old brick church down the street, the one with grand steps and luminous stained glass. But this morning, I’ve already heard the timeless message they will ring, in the silence and tomatoes and birds.