“The object of my school is to is to show how many extraordinary things even a lazy and ordinary man may see if he can spur himself to the single activity of seeing.”
— G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles
The outdoor birds keep the residents of this domicile entertained with their buoyant tunes and backyard games. Birdwatching is fun. Just this week, on this one small plot of land, I have observed: three male cardinals (they were playing together, so perhaps they were newly born sibs?), a female cardinal, a blue jay, two turtle doves (one sitting grandly on a nest), innumerable sparrows (they adore the eaves of the house, and build nests there each year), two large unidentified birds (hawks?) which whizzed by, two geese (were they looking for the river?); and lo, The Baby heard a woodpecker yesterday, but we did not see him. Right now, at 7 a.m. EST, the birds are singing away like the Annapolis Chorale; although, unlike the Chorale, they collectively create a discordant tune. Each bird species has their own particular song, and by their song they are known; and, shall I add, loved? Yes. Speaking of being known: the sparrows; let’s discuss them.
They all look the same. They are little and rather plain. If you are talking beauty in the bird world, they might be said to be low in that order; yet, Jesus spoke of them in glowing terms. Our Lord said that God sees the sparrows, and cares for them; God watches over them (paraphrase of Gospel words, and song His Eye is on The Sparrow, references sourced below).
When you see a sparrow jumping around outdoors, remember this: God’s eye is on that particular, rather plain looking creature; and, in like manner, this loving Eye sees, and cares for, us.
The (oft-maligned, but ever-helpful) Wikipedia post on this song notes:
The theme of the song is inspired by the words of David in the Psalms and Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye (Psalm 32:8). “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26) and “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29–31).
Civilla Martin, who wrote the lyrics, said of her inspiration to write the song based on the scriptures:
Early in the spring of 1905, my husband and I were sojourning in Elmira, New York. We contracted a deep friendship for a couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle—true saints of God. Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for nigh twenty years. Her husband was an incurable cripple who had to propel himself to and from his business in a wheel chair. Despite their afflictions, they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. One day while we were visiting with the Doolittles, my husband commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for the secret of it. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” was the outcome of that experience.
There is much to see in our own backyards, if we but look (paraphrase G.K.C., top of post).
May you have a good day under the loving Eye of God.
~Image: a sparrow in spring.