The sandpipers had gathered on a smooth shore. It was low tide and the ocean was calm, waves gently hitting sand and slowly rolling away out to the wider sea.
They were intent on picking at the beach, searching for whatever sandpipers search for, but the minute they sensed intrusion to their community off they would go, chirping loudly and emphatically.
We stopped to watch this scenario as it replayed like a movie on rewind. Gather, search, sense, and leave – the cycle never-changing. And they never came alone; it was always a crowd of sandpipers, gregariously interacting as they picked through the sand finding insects invisible to the human eye.
Sometimes it looked as though one of them was hesitant to fly off, as if this lone voice was saying “Come on guys! If we just stay I don’t think they’ll hurt us” but the crowd always won.
“This reminds me of how we often behave as Christians” I thought.
We do our thing with like-minded people, happily chirping in the process. We are the same and comfortable in our sameness. And then there comes a perceived intrusion.
We don’t want to stay and talk, stay and dialogue. We aren’t always willing to learn how to hold fast to what we believe, “correctly handling the word of truth” yet not see others as intrusions, as threats. Instead we go off, chirping loudly and emphatically.
Sometimes a lone voice arises – a voice that calls us to be willing to talk and learn. The voice doesn’t ask us to stop being sandpipers, that’s what we are and what we were created to be, but the voice calls us to listen to others and not fear intrusion; to be willing to take that risk.
Sandpiper Community – That’s where we are most comfortable. But are we called to be more?