A Joey and an Oratorio
This past weekend we had an interesting duo of outings to enjoy: we strolled through a local sanctuary as they celebrated 70 years in our town and we went up to ‘the big smoke’ (Brisbane) for a wonderfully talented presentation of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
The highlight of the sanctuary for me was a talk given about the small bridled nail-tail wallaby which came close to extinction and is now being bred back and released in several predator free spaces. During the course of her talk, she described its gestation period of about 24 days, the birth of the hairless and blind bean-sized joey with buds on the top of the head where ears one day appear. This tiny bub amazingly crawls up out of the birth canal and finds the mother’s pouch, latches itself onto a teat and stays there for about 3-4 months. To keep the joey from becoming dislodged while mother moves at speed, the teat engorges and keeps the joey locked on. And its suckling does not affect that attachment—the joey remains secure, feeding and growing.
The Elijah concert was moving and inspirational—the story of Elijah is so real, so very much how we humans experience life: the humour of mocking the priests of Baal—"Call him louder!” –the exultation when the rains came “Thanks Be to God!”—the despair when Jezebel threatened—"It is enough, take my life” – and God’s wooing and nurturing of Elijah back to hope and service -- “O Rest in the Lord, wait patiently for him.”
These two experiences got me to thinking how the amazing feeding and growth of the tiny joey has parallels to our journey as Christians. We are attached to Jesus who assures us we will never hunger, never thirst (Jn. 6:35) and who will never leave or forsake us (Matt. 28:20). Unlike the joey, we sometimes pull away from our food source, interrupt the growth pattern—but his hand holding ours is always stronger than ours holding onto him, as Elijah found. Our peace, our rest, our growth is in the Lord, waiting patiently for him.