"His eye is on the sparrow," says the popular gospel song made famous by singer Ethel Waters. At a recent wedding, my eyes were on the sparrow.
Preparations had been made for the celebration of love. The parents had lit the unity candle. The music was playing. The beautiful bride was ready to enter.
Near the organ, in a room adjacent to the sanctuary, I was waiting to enter. With me was the groom and best man — and a sparrow.
Somehow the creature had come in the back door of the church, and it had lost its way. The three of us had the bright idea of capturing it. I grabbed a white cloth in the room, and began chasing it. It hopped like a grasshopper under the chairs to avoid me, and then flew up toward the ceiling. I threw the cloth, but missed.
The groom and best man came to my aid, and soon all three of us were running around the room trying to capture the little bird. Alas, the critter was too quick for us, and we were only making his heart and ours beat faster.
After a few minutes of fruitless effort, we noticed that it was almost time for the wedding and we were not in the hallway where we could hear our musical cue to enter. Imagine the bride coming down the aisle with no groom to greet her, because he was chasing a bird in a classroom!
There was no time to deal with the bird; we had more important matters at hand. So we shut the sparrow in the room, and stepped into the hallway. Soon we heard the piano playing Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” and the bird was forgotten as we entered the worship center.
After the wedding was over and the guests had left, the custodian and music minister went back to deal with the bird. They opened the exit doors leading to the back portico, and opened the door to the room where the bird was. They chased him around the room and hallway. The music minister used a sheet to shoo the bird toward the exit, but he kept going the wrong way. After an hour, the bird finally went outside, the custodian slammed the door shut. The sparrow was free. The only thing left was for the poor custodian to clean up the poop in that ladies’ classroom before Sunday school the next day.
Many people are like that sparrow. They are lost, confused, and cannot find a way out of their problems. God wants to help. But just as that sparrow ran from us that day, we often flee from God’s guidance, afraid and unwilling to follow Him and unable to understand His words. Isn’t that why God became a man? He came down, became one of us and spoke our language, to show us the way out through faith in Jesus.
If we would follow Christ, we could join the chorus: “I sing because I’m happy/ I sing because I’m free/ His eye is on the sparrow/And I know He watches me.” If only we would listen to Him instead of running from Him, we could be free — and we wouldn’t leave such a mess behind, either.
(Copyright 2007 by Bob Rogers. Read this column each Thursday for a mix of religion and humor. You can read more “Holy Humor” on the Web page of First Baptist Church of Rincon at www.fbcrincon.com.)