By Ellen Di Giosia
High above the front door to my house perches a nest made by barn swallows. Every year the birds return for some DIY, rolling pellets of mud in their beaks and shoring up the cup-shaped home. After they line it with feathers and grass, Mama Barn Swallow lays her eggs and the waiting game begins. Both parents guard the nest, and when their precious babies hatch, they will search for food and bring it back. At just the right time, Mama and Papa will nudge their little ones from the nest, give them a few days of flying practice, and then send them out to face the big world.
Our front porch is a very active place with two children and all their friends coming and going, packages (and pizza) being delivered, and the general business of life. I often wonder why the birds have chosen that spot. Wouldn’t a quiet, peaceful place be better? So when the psalmist writes that even the birds have found a safe place in the courts of the Lord, I think, There, silly birds! That’s the place you want to be, not here trembling every time the door slams and trying to sleep through the whoops and hollers of a bunch of kids!
But it’s not the quiet of the sanctuary that draws the birds of Psalm 84, for verse 4 speaks of a house full of people singing the praises of God. The drama and clamor of worship may seem like a strange soundtrack for bird-raising, but somehow they are safe there. And that same background “noise” is right for our own adventures, whether in parenting, work, service or play. Worship is the song that connects us to God in the midst of the busiest times – the way we remember who we are and Whose we are. During this season of self-examination and reflection, let us not forget to worship together, making our little nests in the safe shelter of God.