Our backyard maples are skeletal now. It happened in that sudden way that means I haven’t been paying attention.
I know they flushed to gold about two weeks ago. Emma called me to the window, and we stared at them together for a minute. They can seem incandescent in those early yellow days, like we don’t really need to turn the lights on inside at dusk.
I may have seen a leaf or two take a turn downward. There was that day I worked at the kitchen table and watched so many drifting free. Some of them sailed, some turned in tight circles. One I watched fall and catch itself on a lower branch.
And now today these trees are mostly empty.
Today, too, is word of loss. 48 dead in the California Camp Fire. This was the news that woke me this morning on my radio alarm.
On Sunday during our worship service, phone alarms from around the congregation reminded Bill and me of the alarm we too had received that morning: another Amber alert. A child taken, and a parent–unknown to us–inconsolable.
And last night, news analysis about pressure potentially brought to bear on Saudi Arabia: the chance that the kingdom could relieve the crisis of famine in Yemen.
I don’t begin to know how to pray for these things–and prayer seems ineffectual. But I can do nothing about the forest fire. I am powerless for the stolen child. Yemen’s distress grieves me–but also, for now, anyway–I cannot help.
I think He saw the leaves fall. Sees them fall. Saw with me the one cut loose then drift to resting on a lower branch.
So too He says He sees the sparrow–that small and unconsidered life. During the life of Christ on earth, two sparrows made the cheapest meal. A solid source of protein for less than an hour’s wage.
If He knows the death of the sparrow, how much more the life of the one who must eat it? Child. Woman. Man. Person. Image of God.
So I do pray for Yemen. For California. For the stolen child and her mother. I hold them up to him–fist full of sparrows. Lord, have mercy.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” Matthew 10: 29
“Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.” Psalm 62: 11