The windows outside my office are made of highly reflective glass. For the last four days a beautiful male Cardinal has been fighting his reflection in the mirrored glass. He is so obsessed with his quixotic mission to rid his domain of any perceived threat that he does battle with himself every day from dawn to dusk.
Meanwhile the Cardinal doesn’t seem to be doing whatever Cardinals are supposed to do like finding food, building nests, or texting some pretty young Cardinal to try to hatch some eggs and start a family.
I noticed his feathers are starting to ruffle along the edges.
I tried to distract him, and for a minute or two he flies away more afraid of me than mad at himself. But then I hear him again, hitting his reflection. Sadly, I’m not sure how much more banging his little Cardinal pea-brain head can handle.
I was thinking of my foolish cardinal and the way churches sometimes struggle to get along.
Churches can be like Cardinals. We can become so consumed with our turf and territory that we find ourselves locked in mortal combat with ourselves. Who was it, maybe Pogo, that said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
When churches forget their purpose they turn their eyeballs inward and that’s usually when the fireworks start. How often do you hear about this church or that church that couldn’t get along? What happened? The hardheaded Cardinal in them just couldn’t resist banging its head against the wall.
Meanwhile all the things churches are supposed to do, like glorifying the Lord, taking care of the hurting, training and equipping the saints, and reaching the world with the gospel are neglected or forgotten. And the little red bird in us gets even angrier and more frustrated that his world isn’t what he wants it to be.
Philippians 2:1-2 “If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”