Crows have built a nest in the cedar tree in our backyard. Now they take turns bringing new twigs, perfecting, and guarding the nest. This nest-building, provisioning and guarding is done not just by the nesting pair, but by at least one generation of their offspring - maybe two; hatchlings from last year and the year before.
It’s fascinating to watch the interactions between these feathered family members! As one member of the mating pair sits on the nest, the other perches on a branch just opposite and slightly above, in another tree across the yard, standing guard. Siblings take turns with the watch-parent; occasionally we have seen them rub beaks together in what looks like a loving greeting.
One day, watching the crows from an upstairs window, I realized that they illustrate beautifully the way that prayer works. Just as one crow always sits on the nest (they take turns) to guard the eggs and hatch them, we pray continually for the nurture, protection and maturity of the brothers and sisters in our community. As Paul said, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…” Galatians 4:19. Paul “labored over” his brothers and sisters in prayer in order to present them mature. “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity.
But we also have the privilege and responsibility to send our prayers in help and defense of the Church (our brothers and sisters) beyond our geographical location; keeping watch for attacks and needs so we know how to pray. We keep an eye on the Church and we stand ready to pray.
These things we do because we are family. We are generations working together in love and humility for the good growth and wellbeing of all our members. Not one crow outranks another, each mate takes a turn standing guard, fetching supplies, and sitting on the nest. Each sibling does their part to help the adults prepare, protect, and provide for the new hatchlings and the entire family.
May we, too, be found “... praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” from Ephesians 6.