Saturday, August 02, 2014

Red birds in winter

I thought I’d show you something else I bought myself as a birthday treat. Who am I kidding that my life is not just one great internal accumulation of symbolism, or metaphor on metaphor, because if you have been reading here for a time you might recall me referring to red birds, and particularly cardinals, in winter.

It all started with Mary Oliver’s poem Red Bird (below), which reminded me of a Thomas Hardy poem I can still recite called The Darkling Thrush. Then Sara Groves sang a song called From This One Place (video below) which starts with reference to a cardinal singing outside her window. And when my Mum was getting rid of a Christmas decoration featuring cardinals, I snatched it. Then the other day I was actually looking around online for a clock for my kitchen, and I came across this cushion on sale at The Pottery Barn. I know it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I couldn't resist buying it (I have been looking for a cushion for some time), and when it arrived in the mail I thought it was so beautiful. It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be at the size of a standard pillow, but that is quite alright. My "living room" is cherry red and sage green, and this cushion is perfect (you can't really see in the photo but it has a tiny bit of beading on the pine cones, which is enough, and it's nicely made). I've never even seen a cardinal, but they come in winter in North America, and sound like this.

The other morning I was riding to work, feeling a little blue, when a crimson rosella, which is one of my favourite Australian birds whose song I love, landed on a branch over my path.

I now have red birds in winter on my couch.

Red Bird

Red bird came all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else could.

Of course I love the sparrows,
those dun-colored darlings,
so hungry and so many.

I am a God-fearing feeder of birds.
I know He has many children,
not all of them bold in spirit.

Still, for whatever reason –
perhaps because the winter is so long
and the sky so black-blue,

or perhaps because the heart narrows
as often as it opens –
I am grateful

that red bird comes all winter
firing up the landscape
as nothing else can do.

Mary Oliver


Meredith said...

Not cardinals, but robins. Here is one of favourite Internet things ever.

If the link won't work, go to Vimeo and search "Robins: 4 Eggs, 4 Weeks"

I always think of you when I watch this. All the more now. Enjoy this Saturday afternoon delight.


Ali said...

Oh, very nice! Thank you.

Steve Finnell said...


The doctrine of irresistible grace, that was promoted by John Calvin, teaches that God's grace is applied only to those to whom He has determined to save, overcoming their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, imputing them with faith in Christ so that they might become saved.

God's grace is available to all who hear the gospel.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

God's grace is available to all men, however, most men reject the salvation offered by God. Men have a choice, grace is not irresistible.

Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Men can and do resist the Holy Spirit.

Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.

Men have a choice to accept or reject the gospel. Men do resist the Holy Spirit.

Luke 9:5 "And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them."

Why would Jesus say whoever will not receive you, if grace was irresistible? Grace is resistible.

Luke 13:34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

Jesus wanted to save all Jerusalem, however, they resisted that call. Men have free-will to accept or reject God's salvation.

Men have always and will always have a choice to obey or disobey God.

Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served, that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Men still have have choice of whom they will serve. God does not force men into service.

Faith comes by hearing the gospel preached. Faith does not come because of irresistible grace.

Romans 10:17 So the faith comes by hearing , and hearing by the word of God.

Men accept the word of God by faith. Men are not imputed with faith by irresistible grace given by the Holy Spirit. Men have a choice.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcome it not as the word of men, but as truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.


1 Timothy 2:3-4...God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

If irresistible grace were true, then all men would be saved.
The truth is, all who hear the gospel can be saved, but not all men are obedient to the gospel plan of salvation.


(Scripture from: NKJV)