# 487 – Birds in Church

The following is an excerpt from my imaginary book One Thousand and One Things They Don’t Teach at Preacher School.

There was a beautiful regal red cardinal sitting on the foyer windowsill. I was struck by his beauty, and at first I thought he was not real. He was, after all, perched on the windowsill in the church foyer just above one of the red couches. I walked over to him. He turned away and decided to fly out toward the trees. He did not understand the concept of plate glass windows. He was inside the church, not outside.

I have some experience handling birds in church. One weekday morning in the mid-1970’s I was heading up the north stairs to the third floor when I surprised three urban pigeons that startled me. An upstairs window had been left open. Pigeons are not clean birds. Various birds, even a bat or two, have managed to find their way into the building over the years.* I found a large apron, dampened it, and captured the birds one by one. A damp cloth thrown over them works every time. The cloth needs to be large enough to cover the bird completely. The dampness depends on the weight and size of the bird. The weighted cloth, along with the darkness of the material, disorients the bird sufficiently for you to scoop it up and whisk it outside, without getting bit or clawed or contacting any uncleanliness. The rules are simple: 1) close the doors to the sanctuary to keep the birds out of the biggest room in the building; 2) open the main doors to let them out if they would rather not wear the damp cloth; and 3) remember, they are more confused or panicked than you are.

I followed the rules for capturing the cardinal, less the cloth. After repeatedly banging into the window trying to get out, he was dazed and confused. I scooped him into my gloved hands (see # 35 – Items to Always Have in Your Desk Drawer), escorted him out by the trees, and released him. He never looked back. The flash of red against the clear blue sky was spectacular. Birds belong outside. People belong in church. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Go to church this week. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

*No creatures were harmed in these stories.

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