From the Newsletter: The red-tailed hawk and the boys in the cave


Last evening, red-tailed hawk perched for several minutes on the roof of the Parsonage’s front porch.

I was in my office when Liz called to tell me.

“Look out your window right now,” she said.  And there it was.

We were worried it was injured — it was standing on one foot while holding up the other in a way that reminded me of how, long after her cast was gone, my grandmother held her wrist close to her body, having suffered a bad fall the previous winter.

Liz reported that when she and the girls had opened an upstairs window to get a better look, the hawk didn’t budge, but just watched them for a minute.

That didn’t seem good.

But when I went home to go “be helpful” in the unfolding situation, the hawk saw me coming along the walk and sailed off over the trees beyond the statue of the Union soldier.  Maybe it was heading for the Rectory at Christ Church.

Standing below, I was the one who got the best view of its departure, as it dipped and rose, and with a few casual flicks of the wing, was out of view.

Creation never ceases to surprise me.

That’s part of what makes it so full of beauty and wonder — and why its sudden power can be so disconcerting.

Yesterday morning, we heard that the last of the twelve young Thai boys trapped in a remote cave with their soccer coach had been rescued by a team of remarkably brave frogmen from around the world.  I have been praying for them since the team was first found alive last week.

Imagining their experience, I have thought about how a trip to check out a cave with your soccer team can turn so suddenly into a life or death race for high ground.

I wonder what they’ve learned about the world, and what they may have to learn differently as time goes on.

I worry that nature’s power could terrify them forever.

But our faith teaches us that there is a profound difference between understanding the world around as “nature” and learning to see it, instead, as “Creation.”

Nature is something that operates on its own, according to animal instincts or physical laws, perhaps, but endlessly and impassively rattling along in its evolved grooves, just the same.

Creation is the idea that the world is not just physical, but spiritual, too.  It’s an affirmation that somehow, there is meaning in it, and some sort of higher purpose that is unfolding, even if sometimes it may be hard to discern.

Did God have some sort of monstrous “purpose” for the terror of those poor trapped children? Certainly not.

But the part of all of us that could not rest until they were found, and once found, that could not rest until they were rescued — whatever that required — was a reminder of how deeply precious life is, and how committed we remain to preserving it, and to being the kind of people who risk their own lives in the name of life.

Nature on its own is indifferent to that.

So I give thanks to be part of Creation, which I encounter in the beauty of the hawk here at home, and the bravery of frogmen far away.

May these summer days teach us to see the world with grateful eyes.

See you in church,


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