Pheasants of Martin Top

Before morning service, I was standing outside greeting arrving worshippers. A most unpleasant sound was heard in the neighbouring field, like someone being repeatedly throttled next to a microphone. The source soon flew into the next field; it was a pheasant. For all its unpleasant croaking, it is a beautiful bird. It was a male and his long tail and various colours could be espied through the hedge: rich chestnut and black marking, dark green head and red face. One’s appearance clearly does not determine the melody of one’s voice. A younger me once saw a very attractive girl but I was put off the moment she spoke, her accent being broad, her vocabulary limited, her speech common: like a gold ring in the pig's snout (Prov 11:22).

In Revelation 13:11, John says: Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

This monster looked harmless, but his cruel and ghastly speech betrayed his true character. Of the Lord Jesus, however, whom He observes earlier in the book, we read:

His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; (Revelation 1:15)

Both of these beings have powerful voices; one speaks like evil, death and destruction, the other the powerful, mighty words of life. The Lord Jesus is both beautiful and speaks beautifully. We, like the pheasants, have a fleeting beauty which mingles with our unclean words. Satan and his agents look beautiful but their ugly speech contradicts this. Beware of simpering looks and civil charm but truth-denying speech.

I was glad on Sunday that our feathered friend deigned to visit, if not to sing.

Image by Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay