Death and the Blue Jay
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.” John 11:25
Several years ago I was reading a copy of Nature magazine when I was shocked to discover an article praising the virtues of Blue Jays. As a child I had been taught that Blue Jays were bad because they robbed other birds’ nests. All the neighborhood kids knew that they were not supposed to shoot birds with their BB guns but that Blue Jays were fair game. So when I read in the article how valuable Blue Jays are in distributing seeds and regenerating forests I had to rethink my childhood notions.
Later today I will drive over to Middlesboro, Kentucky, to speak at the funeral of a dear friend. Even though she was 92 years old it still hurts knowing that she is no longer here. Over the years death has robbed me of a lot of my loved ones. When I was younger I had a horrible attitude toward death. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing good about it. In time, however, I came to see things differently. Just as I came to see the good in the Blue Jay I came to understand that death is not all bad.
My Christian faith teaches me that contrary to the way it might seem, death is not the end. For children of God death is in many ways just the beginning. It is an entranceway to a far better place.
There is much in nature that reminds us of the inevitability of death. You see it everywhere. I also happen to believe that God has placed signs in nature to remind us and give us hope that this life is not all that there is. The new life that returns each spring following the cold dark winter is one such sign.
These days whenever I see a Blue Jay I remember how something I once saw as bad is actually good. When I visit the cemetery this afternoon, I’ll remember the same thing.
(I took the image of this Blue Jay in my yard this past winter.)