No, not the Bob Marley song. Here is a story I wrote for Toddlers Church this week. We were saying goodbye to three of the older children who start school next term and we’ve been looking at the colours of the rainbow as our theme this term, which probably gives enough context to understand the references.
Three little birds were born in a next, high up in a tree on the edge of a small town. They were tiny little things, huddling together for warmth and barely more than beaks connected to stomachs. They felt very safe in their little nest.
Over time, they developed their feathers. That made them nice and cosy. Mummy bird and Daddy bird kept up a good supply of food. While waiting for the next snack, they looked over the side of the nest at the things they could see in the town below them.
They saw a post box. What colour would that be? Someone tried to pinch a small round fruit from the bottom of the pile outside the grocers and fruit fell everywhere. What colour do you think the fruit was? They saw bees and wasps buzzing around? What colour were their stripes? They saw the leaves of the trees. What colour were they? Up above them was a wide open sky without any clouds. What colour was that? Somebody came out of the hairdressers, much darker than when they went in. What colour do you think their hair was now? Oh, and there were lovely flowers in the gardens, including one that was named after its colour. [Think colours of the rainbow]
One day, Mummy bird said, “you know, it won’t be long before you have to leave the nest”. “Oh no,” said the first little bird. “We want to stay here where it’s safe and warm,” said the second little bird. “Forever,” added the third little bird. That made their Mummy sad – she loved them but she knew they needed to learn to fly.
A few days later, Daddy bird said, “look how large you’ve grown – soon this nest won’t be big enough.” “Oh no,” said the first little bird. “We want to stay here where it’s safe and warm,” said the second little bird. “Forever,” added the third little bird. That made their Daddy sad and, as he flew off, they though they saw a drop of water in his eye.
Then it began to rain. It rained and rained and, for a while, it seemed all the colour drained out of the world. But this was a summer storm and, as it passed, the sun came out and a glorious rainbow lit up the sky. Can you remember what colours make up the rainbow? Red and orange and yellow and green and blue and indigo and violet!
It reminded the three little birds that Father God cared for them and their parents cared for them. “I think,” said the first little bird, “that it is time to fly.” “But what if we die?” said the second little bird. “We’ve got to try,” said the third little bird.
They helped each other climb out of the nest, balanced on the branch, had one last little huddle and then they jumped off. They heard Mummy bird: “flap your wings!” They heard Daddy bird: “open your eyes!” They heard Father God: “I made you to fly!”
And they did. They flapped their wings. They opened their eyes. And, to their amazement, they found that, yes, they really could fly! What freedom! What joy! What fun!
We don’t have feathers and wings and we aren’t made to fly, so it’s a good thing we weren’t born in nests high up in the trees! Sometimes it is time to move onto something new and it makes us scared. When those times come, help each other and remember that you have people who care for you and Father God in heaven who cares for you. Like those little birds, as you are brave and move on, you will find that you are becoming more the person you were made to be and your life can be full of colour.