Psalm 81:10 – I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
FED AND WATERED WELL
Recently my daughter introduced me to something that has influenced the way I wake up in the morning and the way I go to sleep at night. I doubt I would have discovered this on my own and am grateful for her sharing with me because I find it fascinating. This treasure is relaxing and exhilarating all at once. It engages a part of me that I should spend more time exploring. When I skip the exercise for even one day, I find I miss it and wonder what might have happened if I had been faithful to my practice.
I would never have thought I would enjoy a simple website as much as I am loving this one. When I open my computer first thing in the morning or last thing at night, I spend a few minutes traveling to another continent where my imagination is captured by unfamiliar sights and sounds. Live camera feeds overlooking African landscapes expand my world as I watch the local wildlife gather for life sustaining water. Who knew something as simple as watching animals drink from a watering hole could capture my attention this deeply?
Over the past few days, I have watched herds of elephants grandly make their way into view mindful of the tiniest among them. Two weeks ago, I was intrigued by a pride of lions stretched out for a rest. Eleven were calmly relaxing in the night air – mostly females or young juveniles – when suddenly the weeds parted and a huge male wandered through the group and made his way to water’s edge for a long drink. No one approached him as he looked over his family before wandering alone into the cover of darkness.
Just this morning I watched ostriches calmly strolling through tall grass and zebras seemingly oblivious to anything other than feeding. Wild boars were startled by something imperceptible to me, but they sure did take off running. Last week I watched a lone hippo enjoy a solitary bath. I’m sure he believed he was hidden – completely submerged and surfacing briefly every few minutes to take a breath – but his ears and back were always visible, and I never lost sight of him.
One of the cameras I am currently enjoying is focused on an owl nest. For many days, I thought it was only the mother and two babies, but one morning I caught a glimpse into that nest while she was out rounding up breakfast. Three! They are growing quickly and beginning to stretch their tiny wings gaining muscle control. (Mama Owl is going to need a bigger nest if they get much bigger!) This morning I watched as Mama tried to nap. With her head resting on her back, and her beak tucked just under her feathers, she slowly closed her eyes. Baby 1 quickly drifted off to dream. Baby 2 settled in; her eyes slowly closed, and she nodded off. Baby 3 was a different story. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. I could almost hear him asking for one more story, one more hug, a cup of water – anything to keep from sleeping. I grinned as I recognized the bedtime routine straight out of my own story with three little ones. The time is approaching when I will turn to that camera feed, and those young’uns will be just like my own – off to create their own lives as adults.
Sleeping owls are a lot like other bird families, but feeding time is much different. Owls process food and feed babies unlike other birds I’ve observed over the years. Many times I have been spellbound as mother robins or wrens return to the nest and drop their findings into tiny open mouths waiting to be nourished. I wonder if the moms are ever frustrated by that one strong and assertive sibling among their brood – the one who wants more than the fair share. I have had moments of concern while watching one hatchling receive a double portion while another yells for a small bite. I shouldn’t worry; mama bird always returns with enough, and every open mouth is filled.
Psalm 81 brought these images to mind this morning as I read words attributed to God’s voice: “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” David has written this psalm to be sung in the Temple as a reminder of what God has promised through the Israelites’ journey, but the message continues to sing for me. Like a mother bird providing plenty of nourishment for her young, my Creator feeds me with an abundance of sustenance to carry me through my days. When I open myself to God’s love and words, my mouth is filled with goodness that I cannot keep to myself. Even when I feel that someone else is receiving more than their fair share and I just want to cry for attention, God patiently provides plenty for me. I am well-fed and taught to grow and stretch.
During this Lenten season as I contemplate my own journey, I shouldn’t worry. God is always enough.
Stretching my wings,
PRAYER FROM PSALM 81
Sustainer and Provider, you are my strength and I sing your praises. Thank you for providing everything I need. You reassure me that every time I open my mouth, you are ready to fill it with your goodness. Help me to rest in the promise that you are enough, and allow me to share your sustaining gifts with everyone I meet. Amen.
(Note from Pastor Beth: Check out explore.org! Be sure to click on Africa and then “Africam” – that’s where you’ll find some of the great live feeds I mentioned!)