My sister, Sandy, called me on my birthday. We had a wonderful time sharing the goings on in our lives. Eventually, we got around to talking about the various critters that come to call from time to time. As most of you are aware, I feed feral cats, possums, birds, raccoons, etc. I even have a heated water bowl so that all God’s creatures from blue jays to squirrels have a source of drinkable water during the freezing winter months. My sister shared that, living in Florida, they have a lot of lizards. Not so much big lizards, but little ones that can crawl under doors, in windows, boxes, or any number of other ways to get into their house. My sister does not like lizards.

This past year, Sandy and her husband, Ted, put in a Ring security doorbell that sets of an alarm on their cell phones and sends a video of whoever is standing at their front door. It seems that the lizards love the infrared light that the doorbell features, and they keep climbing the wall and sending videos and alarms that they are at the door. I found this hilarious and provided Sandy with my own soundtrack of a lizard saying, “Sandy, I’m at the door, come and let me in!” I’m still laughing about the lizards ringing the doorbell.

This reminded me of something similar that happened to me a few years ago. Upon rising from a winter’s night sleep, your pastor went into the bathroom to do, well, what most people do when they first get up in the morning. My feline companions, David & Bathsheba, were already there, which came as something of a surprise since I usually disrupt their beauty sleep when I wake. I walked over to the “john”, lifted the cover, and immediately slammed it back down again. I stood there perplexed for a moment. Did I really see what I thought I saw? Slowly, I lifted the cover again, and, once again, I quickly closed the lid. It was true, I decided, my eyes had not deceived me, there was a sparrow in my toilet. “Surely it must be deceased.” I reasoned. I lifted the lid again, and the sparrow turned its head to look at me.

So, what does one do with a sparrow in the toilet? I decided I should turn to scripture for an answer. In Matthew 10:30-32 Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.” I thought, “Hmmmm… if God perceives a sparrow when it falls to the ground, does it perceive it when it turns up in my commode?” Probably so, I decided. Flush with my new understanding of God’s word, I girded my loins for the task of liberating God’s sparrow from the toilet bowl.

I scoured the kitchen for appropriate tools, armed myself with my leather gloves, and then returned to the bathroom where David, Bathsheba and the hapless sparrow waited. Much to their dismay, I banished my furry friends from the vicinity out of deference for my feathered guest. After donning my gloves, I lifted the lid, grasped the sparrow firmly but gently, picked him out of the bowl, and carefully placed it in a Glad ware container. Felinely followed, I took my avian visitor downstairs, through the kitchen and, sans cats, out to the porch. I lifted the cover, tipped the container, and finally, truly free as a bird, the sparrow departed in search, I’m sure, of more hospitable lodgings devoid of felines and their wiles.

– Pastor Sharon