Shock the Ostrich
Originally scheduled for July 27
We must begin with a disclaimer.
You have all seen – usually in a cartoon – the picture of an
ostrich with its head in the sand.
To the best of my knowledge, this is not natural behavior for
the ostrich. On one
occasion an advertising firm produced a commercial which appeared to
show the ostrich putting its head in a small hole.
The zookeeper, on seeing this for the first time, was
shocked. “How did you
ever get it to do that?”
The method was simple;
they put the ostrich’s feeding dish on a ledge which looked
like a small hole from the camera’s point of view.
The ostrich started to eat; they took away the food dish and
the ostrich resumed an upright position.
They photographed this – and reversed the film to make it
look like the ostrich was putting its head in the sand.
Of course, we are more familiar with the
metaphoric meaning – that someone is deliberately ignoring a
problem. But have you
ever considered how to get our metaphoric ostrich out of the sand?
Let’s suppose that you apply an electric shock to the ostrich.
You might, possibly, get the desired result.
But it’s much more likely that the ostrich would start by
kicking you with its powerful legs – and that could cause a great
deal of pain.
This is true with humans as well.
It is common to find a Christian whose head is stuck firmly
in the sand over the problem of a particular sin.
How do we do this?
We tell ourselves we will worry about
Whenever later comes, that is.
We engage in self-justification –
it’s not really a sin but righteous anger, right?
Comparison works well too – “I’m a
better man than …”
When this happens, we resent being shocked (or
even gently reminded) and tell someone to mind their own business.
Pushed far enough, we will kick back.
Perhaps this is why our Lord provides a more
gentle method during communion.
He tells us we are to examine
ourselves – which makes
things much easier. But
if this is going to work, we need to remember that we must do so
honestly – not later, not self-justified, no comparison, just an
honest look in the spiritual mirror.
Perhaps you’ve missed it before:
one of the ways in which Christ shows his great love for us
is in the agony of the Cross – his body, his blood – willingly
endured so that you might be
gently restored. Out
of his great love he provides a way for you to be lovingly restored
to him. Softly and
tenderly, Jesus is calling.