This week, we look to the skies and see signs of grace, guidance, and a gentle reminder of our path home.
Did anyone catch the Ayr Air Show this weekend? Over 200,000 people surely did! It's astounding how the Red Arrows, with their precise formations, took to the skies and captured our imaginations. But have you ever stopped to consider that there's an equally magnificent air show happening above us daily? All it takes is a keen eye. Not with just eight pilots, but with 30,000 birds dancing in the dusk. These murmurations of starlings remind us to appreciate the smaller wonders around us.
Speaking of appreciating nature, St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, once preached to a flock of birds. He addressed them as his "sweet little sisters" and highlighted their blessed freedom of the skies. Next time you're out, whether it's for another air show or simply a walk in the park, remember to look up and see the beauty of our feathery friends.
Now, have you ever lost something? Particularly, have you ever lost a pet? Almost one-third of pets will go missing in their lifetime. We've all heard or seen those quirky lost dog adverts, like the one about 'Lucky', the three-legged dog. While humorous, there's an underlying message - things and people get lost, sometimes without reason. Just like Rosie, Rev. Neil's wanderlust Labrador, who often finds herself in unexpected places. But in every story of loss, there's potential for rediscovery, for coming home.
Turning our gaze to the scriptures, we delve into the parable of the lost sheep. It beautifully encapsulates the essence of God's boundless love for each one of us. We learn that everyone, no matter how 'lost', is significant in the eyes of the Almighty. It doesn't matter if you're among the 99 or the solitary one; you're always looked out for. Philip Keller, in his book "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23", offers insight into the vulnerable nature of sheep, highlighting their reliance on the shepherd. We're not so different. We often feel lost, astray, and in need of guidance.
To encapsulate the sentiment, Augustine once said, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you." This beckons us to remember that we all sometimes need guidance, a sense of direction. Jesus serves as that beacon, calling out to those feeling lost, desolate, or unloved. The heart of Jesus is one of unconditional love, always ready to guide the wandering back to the fold.
So as we gathered for communion, let it serve as a reminder - a call back to the heart of the good shepherd. It's not just about our personal journey home but also a nod to our collective responsibility to guide and care for the 'least, the last, the lost'.
Whether you're marvelling at air shows or simply reflecting on life's intricacies, always remember there's a guiding force, a skyward flock leading you home. Blessings to all.