Reflection for the Week
16th July 2017

Remember the geese of the air?
Migrating birds... Many birds migrate, flying thousands of miles to new places... leaving one place for another when their life is in danger because of lack of food, habitat changes, or cold weather.
Apparently about 1,800 of the world's 10,000 bird species are long-distance migrants... and I mean long distance!
Arctic Terns are the record holders, travelling between the Arctic and the Antarctic each year. Albatrosses circle the earth, flying over the southern oceans, and Manx Shearwaters migrate 8,700 miles between their breeding grounds in the north and the southern ocean.
Migration is a risky and costly business indeed as migrating birds are vulnerable to predators and death by other causes en route, including hunting by humans.
Of course, many creatures migrate, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects (like the astonishing Monarch Butterflies) and crustaceans.
What an amazing feat of endurance and an astonishing sight it is when creatures of all types and sizes migrate. We’re astonished by their resilience and welcome them when they arrive... it’s a joy to see the first swallow of summer, which will have travelled about 200 miles a day at 17-22 miles per hour from South Africa, across the Sahara, into Morocco, through eastern Spain, across the Pyrenees and through western France before reaching Britain, flying low by day and finding food along the way. However, they’re vulnerable to starvation, exhaustion and storms... We are in awe of what they do.
And humankind migrates too, when life is in danger because of lack of food, habitat changes, or cold weather faced without shelter. As they migrate thousands of miles to seek safety, they too endure the threat of lack of food, habitat changes, cold weather, illness, exhaustion, predators and death by other causes en route, including hunting by humans.
Boats full and lines of people walking, people brimming with possibilities, potential and life and experience and vulnerability, lives more precious than any bird or butterfly. Jesus told us “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unnoticed by God, your Father. And even the hairs of your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10: 29-31)
We welcome with joy the swallow and the Monarch Butterfly... why not people?
Revd. Janine Atkinson

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