Unless You Become like the Little Blackbird

Most of the young blackbirds to have been raised in my little back garden this year are gone. Hopefully, to pastures new and not to some feline digestive tract. One in particular tarried when her siblings flew off. She knew little fear of me; she would hop to within a few feet of my chair and demand food. Kindly or foolishly, I obeyed, and she ate some wet bread pieces. Sometimes, her requests would border on the impertinent, she hopping onto my table while I ate. I succeeded in feeding her from my hand, though her flying was rather clumsy, and I didn't much resemble the old woman from Mary Poppins. I reflected that I may not have been doing her a long-term favour. Some humans will not be so kind, and it behoves a blackbird to keep her distance. She was certainly more relaxed in my presence than her older, wiser parents.


Similarly, Jesus beckoned little children, telling we adults to be more like them. Indeed, except we become like them we have no share in His kingdom. Children are innocent and trusting; while this makes them more vulnerable to predators and bullies, it makes them more trusting of God. The adult world’s pride, disbelief and cynicism does not generally encroach for some years.

One of the Apostle John’s favoured ways of addressing Christians was ‘my little children’. As I awoke to another damp, rainy day yesterday, I pulled a face, muttering about the British weather, momentarily envying all those rich pensioners who emigrate to Spain. Yet me as a child would allow no rain to perturb the day’s plans. I’d have relished splashing in the puddles, shaking tree branches, making mud castles. My heart has since hardened, my simple pleasures become stiff and complicated. What once filled me with laughter now causes me to grumble and mutter. Have I merely matured, or am I become insensible to the diverse blessings of God? Here’s a little test:

Jesus is coming back for you.

All your sins He has forgotten.

He is with you always.

Did these statements elicit a smile? A tear? A Hallelujah? If not, why? Let us become more like little children: less cynical, less hard to please, less dead. Let us approach the Lord like my juvenile blackbird, with a simple trust and assurance, asking and receiving. May His promises re-fill us with hope and joy as once they did.

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 1 John 2:28

Where is the blessedness I knew
when first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
of Jesus and his word?

William Cowper