The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. (Psalm 89:11)
My last post, The White Witch, was about how the winter and summer solstices represent moving away from the sun (the Son) causing cold, death, and decay; and moving closer to the sun resulting in new life and rebirth. I’ve decided to make a series of it since I see the Gospel in many other aspects of nature as well.
Recently, I watched the BBC miniseries, Nature’s Great Events, and one episode in particular stood out to me: The Great Migration.
It occurred to me suddenly, like a rush of wind, that animals, birds and fish do every single year what each Christian does in a lifetime.
Once per year these animals travel across many miles over dangerous terrain on an epic journey.
They do so with precision and in tandem. They do so with a sense of instinctual purpose. Birds fly in a “V” or a murmuration, animals stick together as a group, fish cluster in a school. Their focus is singular and forward and they resist all temptation, even while starving and at their most vulnerable. Despite their varying levels of intelligence (compare a salmon to an elephant), they somehow know what they need to do and that they need to do it every single year:
They beef up to start and then reach dangerous levels of emaciation before reaching the promised land where they can finally refresh themselves at journey’s end. The weak and sickly ones often die along the way and do not make it. Those who are strong never turn to the right or to the left; they stay in the saddle. Birds refuse to be individuals, knowing their strength is in numbers. Mothers will give their very lives to ensure the safe and successful passage of their children.
Somehow these creatures know deep down that to stray from the plotted course means certain death. God has written this knowledge on their hearts. Even the tiniest bird, the tiniest fish, knows what his Creator intends for him to do and he does it obediently every season, every generation.
What’s more, no animal can complete his journey successfully unless the other animals, birds, and fish do so as well. The circle of life demands that all eco-systems remain intact, functioning at optimal capacity. Any imbalances in the eco-systems will have detrimental consequences on the whole. Every part counts. In short, each animal is reliant on another animal, and that animal in turn relies on still another, and on and on. Like a body.
In the church, the Bible describes this phenomenon in regards to people as us being “the body of Christ.” The Apostle Paul says, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:17-20).
I propose that animals, fish and birds (etc) are the body of Nature, just as Christians are the body of Christ.
In the mid-1600s, John Bunyan captured a Christian’s journey brilliantly using similitudes in his famous allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress. The hero, Christian, must take an epic journey against all odds, fraught with divers temptations and dangers at every step, never straying to the right or the left, in order to, at journey’s end, reach the Promised Land (Heaven). It is a story of a great migration and every born-again Christian, serious about following the Lord, is embarking on such a journey this very day and at any given moment.
What takes the migratory animals and birds one season to accomplish, takes the Christian one lifetime.
When we look out into nature and see this great event taking place every year, let us be reminded (as we have been for millennium), that the pilgrim’s journey has been written not just on the hearts of the lesser animals, but also on the hearts of all mankind.
Psalm 84:5-7 says, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.”
Next Up: Pt. 3 Good Himself