Don’t Be A Pigeon!

By Fin Sheridan

I was stood enjoying my pain au chocolat – tres continental but we are CBN Europe, after all – when I noticed a pigeon watching me. He hopped closer and before long, was stood at my feet, pecking and eating the small crumbs that fell off my chocolaty delight.

Feeling full, I tossed the remainder at his/my feet, a piece about the size you would feed a baby who is getting used to solid foods. The pigeon couldn’t believe his luck and frantically pecked away. After about 10 seconds, another pigeon flew down, a scrawny and mottled white bird that began to try and get in on the feast.

Well! My original companion wasn’t having this at all and proceeded to attack the other whenever he came near. Like a jealous lover, he circled and protected his piece of pain. Their squabble, however, quickly attracted the attention of a third pigeon and before long, a fourth and fifth. My crumb was now in several pieces and there was more than enough for all the pigeons to eat. However, they kept going after each other’s pieces. I almost chased them all away to tear the remainders into multiple smaller chunks but then I remembered I had articles to write and left them alone.

“How many of us are grasping at morsels, trying to push others out of the way in order to secure what’s ours?”

This article from Imperial College London gives an interesting perspective into the morning drama. Whilst the human brain is much bigger and smarter than a pigeon’s, there are some similarities! “The team discovered that areas important for high-level cognition such as long-term memory and problem solving are wired up to other regions of the brain in a similar way.

This sounds mildly insulting until you consider that you and I have similar tendencies to the pigeons I saw this morning. How many of us are grasping at morsels, trying to push others out of the way in order to secure what’s ours? Our culture constantly reinforces the idea that we have to get ahead, that we have to take and grab and hold on, in case someone else gets it? It’s famously said that the problem is, even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.

Christians have an opportunity to push back against this. We believe that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.’ We know that ‘all things work for the good of those who love God.’ We can be confident that, if our heavenly Father looks after the birds of the air (even pigeons), he knows our needs and will look after them since we are ‘so much more valuable than they’.  We can live in freedom and peace from the squabbling, pushing and shoving that is so often around us as we trust that ‘the Lord is my shepherd – I have everything I need!’.

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