The trouble with the bird feeder hanging from my study window, apart from the way that it attracts the cats, who hurl themselves at the feathered visitors without a care for books, laptop, papers, nor even their own “thud” against the glass – the other problem is that it is difficult to tell when supplies are getting low. The birds are adept at shelling the seeds, and neatly dropping the husks back into the receptacle, so that it always looks full, no matter how empty its insides may be.
I wonder how many of us are dressed in empty flesh, hearts drained by predatory anxiety and depletion. Perhaps that is why Paul found the need to warn, in today’s epistle, “If… you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another” (Galatians 5:15).
But God has a reputation for feeding the birds (Matthew 6:26). I am reminded that if my prayers feel hollow, throwing husks back into the bowl is not the answer. It is time, instead, to look for the hand of Providence, to cry as a bird in the nest, to look up, and not down into the emptiness at my own feet.
God is not fooled by my feathers. God sees my hunger. God hears my prayer. As a more generous hand than mine more regularly refills the bird feeder, God will fill my bowl with mercy.