Welcome to Becomning Closer! 

Communion Meditations (2014)

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 it “later.”   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.

Previous     Home     Next