I graduated from sprinkling crumbs for my small friends to excitedly hanging up a bird feeder and waterer last spring on the tree in front of my living room window. I’d never before had a yard where I could hang these things until I moved to my current ground-floor apartment. It was a blissful experience, selecting just the right seed and watching the birds soon make a beeline for the party. I had also expanded my squirrel repertoire to include an assortment of treats that I’d place in the tree’s nooks, and I felt like a proud mama watching my regular, sweet little guy devour them.
About a week into this idyllic activity, I learned that it was time to take down the bird feeders since bears were getting into them. From December 1st until April 1st was the safe time for feeding here, so it would be a long time before I could put them up again. I also learned that feeding squirrels can attract rats, and they can then make their way into your home. Things seemed a little less idyllic.
But when December 1st came, I was ready and served up my buffet. I bought a pair of binoculars, and watching the chickadees, finches, and nuthatches happily partake of their favorites became a wonderful respite and a healing pastime during the pandemic. I felt delighted that my friends were getting what they needed, and I loved that there was a safe place of replenishment for them.
I imagine that God equally delights in providing so abundantly and continually for us. God’s gifts are so thoughtful, so individual that we know they’re from God, and they profoundly enrich and sustain our lives. We never forget the times He stepped in when we needed Him most and the memory of that swells our hearts with love and gratitude. Just to receive and appreciate His love is the greatest gift.
I also reflect on what it’s meant to me all the times people have given to me — love, sacrifice, time, encouragement, written words, company, gifts, and help with whatever I needed — all gifts from God too. I don’t know how I would have made it without these things.
It has been a challenge to find enough ways to give in our diminished world circumstances. Yet amid all the bewilderment and isolation, God has provided this Upper Room to meet in, a safe place where anyone who wishes to partake is able to do so in whatever way suits them. When I take in all of the devotionals and other materials provided by The Upper Room, as well as the encouraging comments on this forum — all the love and support going out to one another, all the shared insights, all the promises of prayer taken seriously — I see people giving here in such a natural, sincere, generous, faith-honoring way. It consistently strikes me as touchingly meaningful. I’m sure God loves to provide this space for us and must be filled with joy as we replenish ourselves and others through it. The Lord multiplies our efforts through social media until the whole world is saturated with the fragrance of Christ as we anticipate his magnificent return.
Writing has always meant freedom to me; I can express things through writing that I can’t in any other way. And in this chapel, I can be myself and extend what I can. We are one as we draw closer to the Lord and even become friends. I am profoundly grateful for all of this.
Jesus transformed the world through the upper room and his death. I praise him that he is still transforming us today in our blessed place of communion.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.