When Love Is an Action
I have watched how they go these past weeks. Soaring and diving, turning and landing—a migration ballet. I stand in the middle of the street with my neck arched upward for dizzying moments. When they swoop overhead, the world turns and I am lifted to heights, longing for wings. The way they plunge and domino through the sky makes my tummy drop—I am flying with them, my heart lifted by their communal dance. They move as one.
The birds are heading south and the beauty of it breaks my heart.
They call me a shepherd at my church. I have a flock that I tend. It’s a way for our leadership to stay abreast of individual needs—divide the congregation into smaller groups and assign elders to watch over them. As shepherd, I am supposed to check in with my flock regularly. Make sure they are doing okay.
We have had troubles. We have brushed up against each other and bruised tender flesh in the jostling. Sheep do—they bleat wildly when alarmed, bumble about in fear. We lose sight of our Shepherd.
Sunday night we meet in the sanctuary. There are some good words and some prayers and then we all flood out into the narthex to dress up our church for Christmas. The Hanging of the Greens, we call it. Old and young are here—the same faces we always see when something needs doing…the same faces we’ve argued with and picked at and found fault with.
We are told to love one another. The word in its original Greek is an action word—a verb. It’s a doing thing. So we do.
I’ve often wondered—as I lift my eyes to the sky, feel my breath leave my body as the birds move in unison across the sun—how do they do that? What drive inside pulls them forward, what cue from the next allows them to turn so gracefully as one—no hesitation, no clumsy choppy movements? I know it is written on their hearts—this greater purpose that allows for such harmony, such grace.
I hand an ornament to gnarled fingers, the same fingers that have lashed out at me and those I love in the past…and I lean in closer. Those fingers touch mine and we smile.
So many times, our fellowship is like the sheep—mindless, aimless, losing sight of our Shepherd. But Sunday night, we spread our wings. We moved as one, pulled by something greater—something we do not understand. When love in an action—we turn with those subtle cues, follow the rhythm of our hearts—this is when we take wing.
This is when we fly.
Image by Laura J. Boggess. Used with permission. Post by Laura J. Boggess too.