This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Jim Teague,
FPCE director of communications.
Dear friends –
I am fascinated by the lives of squirrels. Seriously.
I don’t do it very often, by I find it extremely entertaining to sit in my car or on the steps of our home’s front stoop and observe the activities of our neighborhood ne’er-do-wells as they frolic, fight, and forage, moving from tree to tree, yard to yard.
My family and I have lived in our current home for over 23 years and over that time I have come to recognize a handful of the locals. I haven’t reached the point where I have named any of them for fear that once I do there will be no going back and the next step for me will be to somehow adopt one or more of the crazy critters, taking responsibility for their wellbeing.
Having avoid that level of relationship (so far), I have become observant of some key traits among a few of them :
- Many of those squirrels living near me have highly underdeveloped self-preservation skills. While they almost always run away from me whenever I draw closer, they will run to the middle of the street and stare down my larger-than-average car for much longer than is safe or reasonable.
- There is one long-time resident who has some kind of hair-growth issue on his tail. Over the past few years, it seems to have worsened and I fear his follicular challenges will dramatically impact his social interactions with the she-squirrels.
- A different male seems to be way too forward with the ladies. He chases and chatters and is super high energy, but his pursuits seem rather one-sided. This summer, in particular, he seems to be extra energetic. Whereas in the past he would stop his chase once the target of his affections heads up a tree, this year he has been following them up the trunks and even out onto the branches. One morning the protestations of one potential paramour were so loud and emphatic that I thought squirrel social services might need to get involved.
- There is only a very brief period in the spring where I seem to be able to distinguish between adults and juvenile squirrels. The juveniles are the ones who stay out way too late and don’t respond immediately when being called to by the other more parental-types .
At this point, you may be wondering about A) my mental health, and B) what this has to do with First Pres. I won’t make any claims I can’t back up regarding the first one. But ever since Pastor Tassie (our interim senior pastor) began her series on the Book of Exodus, I’ve been looking at my furry friends through the lenses of Scripture.
Last week, Pastor Tassie made the point that one of the reasons God may have chosen Moses as his intermediary with the Hebrews is that Moses was the kind of person who took the time to observe what was going on with the burning bush, noticing that it was not consumed by the flames.
In Exodus 3:7-9, God tells Moses that he has been observing the Hebrews, has seen their hardships, and has good plans for them. That is pretty incredible. Eternal, omnipotent, and omnipresent, God made personal contact with an individual, expressed his genuine concern for this community, and started the process of making things better for them.
I sometimes imagine what it might be like if I could communicate with the squirrels (see point A above). I mentioned this to my son last night and he said I might be disappointed with the quality of the conversation. We also agreed that a burning bush would probably not serve well as a way to get their attention. The good news, for us at least, is that God’s love for his people (which, through Christ, includes us), is so much more personal and intense and complete than anything I could ever feel for the squirrels, no matter how cute they are.
This Sunday, Pastor Tassie will teach from Exodus 2:24-25 and 3:7-14, continuing the “Road Signs & Wonders” series and inviting each of us to “Stop, Look, & Listen” as we journey through our lives with Jesus.
Praying for warm and fuzzy connections with God for all of us,
FPCE director of communications
Photo credit: Jim Teague