One of the great pleasures of walking my dog Henry at this time of the year is hearing the birds singing. Last Monday (11th April) I heard a Cuckoo for the first time in Hatfield Forest. Is this a record? It is also a great joy to hear the Skylarks singing so joyfully high up in the sky. They seem so exuberant and carefree.
I once heard the story of a young skylark who discovered one day a man who would give him worms for a feather. He made a deal - one feather for two worms. The next day the lark was flying high in the sky with his father. The older bird said, "You know, son, we skylarks should be the happiest of all birds. See our brave wings! They lift us high in the air, nearer and nearer to God."
But the young bird did not hear, for all he saw was an old man with the worms. Down he flew, plucked two feathers from his wings and had a feast. Day after day this went on. Autumn came and it was time to fly south. But the young skylark couldn't do it. He had exchanged the power of his young wings for worms.
I think the story of that skylark is a moral tale that is very appropriate for today's society. Pick up a tabloid paper and analyse its message. It speaks of our greed, our selfishness, our preoccupation with material possessions; it speaks of the way that we so often worship our bodies, the way that we worship so-called 'personalities', and the way that we worship God's wonderful gift of procreation. We seem to worship everything else other than the God who made us, loves us, sustains us, and wants so much to have a loving relationship with us.
St Paul, speaking of the society he knew 2000 years ago, could just as easily be speaking of our society today when he wrote: 'For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.'(Romans 1:21)
Perhaps we all ought to rethink our priorities in life, and begin to think about the needs of others rather than ourselves, and, like the older and wiser skylark, rise higher and nearer to God.
My God bless you all.