Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

15 November 2005
  A Sparrow Falls
Wherein we take a bird's-eye view of the culture of death.

I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop. (Psalm 102:7 ESV)

Dead SparrowSurely a Dutch sparrow is mourning its mate on a housetop this evening. An AP article from the Kansas City Star notes that a sparrow was killed in the Netherlands for overturning "23,000 dominoes" which were being set up as part of an effort to set a world record domino fall.

Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight. (Proverbs 26:2 ESV)

Evidently, cursing wasn't enough. While gaps were built into the structure to prevent total meltdown in case of an accident, enough damage was done that someone called an exterminator with an air rifle.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (Matthew 10:29 ESV)

How will animal "rights" activists react to this wanton avian slaughter? Even I, not anywhere near a card-carrying member of PETA (nor even the ASPCA) wonder if death wasn't too harsh a punishment for a lost bird. Maybe they're a bit more than two for a copper these days, but their face value isn't that high. However, they are living creatures made by God and a domino fall — even one of over four million individual pieces — seems trivial next to the death of a non-threatening critter. And yes, as Jesus noted, the Father noticed this particular bird's falling.

Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31 ESV)

Here's where a sick irony surfaces: The shooting death of one relatively insignificant little bird made international headlines. Meanwhile, the nation in which this happened stands as a world leader in allowing and supporting euthanasia and related crimes against humanity and sins against God. How many people "of more value than many sparrows" will die because they get in the way of what the rest of society wants to do?

DominoesI know some Alzheimer's patients who literally could take out at least 23,000 dominoes without realizing what they've done. And speaking figuratively, how many other "dominoes" are being knocked over? Imagine all the mentally deficient, physically impaired, emotionally unstable people who interfere with the plans, hopes, and dreams of others — do we call the exterminator because they keep breaking up our party?

Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 ESV)

After working to calm His disciples' worries about the way the world would view and treat them, Jesus followed up with this reminder: As we confess Him on earth, so He confesses us before His Father. To confess Him certainly means proclaiming His saving Gospel of forgiveness. Yet the confession is incomplete — indeed, it often falls on deaf ears — if the Law is not also clearly and forthrightly professed.

Yes, our God cares about a fallen sparrow. He cares about all of this fallen world. He cares about euthanasia, abortion, homicide, and suicide victims. He condemns those who commit violence or work death upon themselves or others.

We dare not stand to the side and say, "Go get 'em, God!" He tells us that the sin of murder, even if allowed by perverted earthly laws, begins with the inclination of sinful hearts. The hate we feel toward another … the grudging sense that another's presence is an "inconvenience" in our own lives … the resentment that a sibling or a coworker gets more credit than do we … all of these boil down to our passing judgment upon the lives of others relative to our own. Thus, all of these are, in God's eyes, murder most foul.

Our confession of the Son includes confession of our own sins and reception of His complete forgiveness. As His absolution sets us right, it also moves us to confess Him in this fallen world. He sends us "forgiven murderers" out to confront those who continue to spread death, arming us with His Word and Spirit.

Confessing Him, we testify against selfishness — from "How dare that bird knock down my dominoes!" through "How dare this lump of tissue growing in my uterus interfere with my career plans!" to "How dare Mom keep living without remembering anything in that expensive nursing home, spending down my inheritance!" — selfishness that leads to hateful thoughts and murderous outcomes. We also then forgive selfishness in others, as God forgives it in us.

God grant that we show our worth, a worth more "than many sparrows"; indeed, we are worth our purchase price, the "holy, precious blood and the innocent sufferings and death" of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ. As He proclaims our worthiness to His Father, so we proclaim His judgment and His mercy on earth.

Added note: Comments continue in the next post.
 
Comments:
This was a great post-worthy of a Golden Aardie! Thanks, elainep
 
Awesome application of a current event--and the sick media-hype-culture that forced it into our attention. Great use of Law and Gospel! THANK you for this post, brother.
 
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