Crows in My Neighborhood
There are gangsters in my neighborhood. Before you get concerned for my safety, these are harmless to humans and are rarely covert in their operations. No, these gangsters operate in the open using audible communication. It is unfortunate I don’t speak crow because I think it would be enjoyable to hear them strategize.
Crows are known to be intelligent and socially connected avian. A few years ago a traveling friend told me about a book he read with his grandkids that summarized much of what is known about crows around the world, and reading it really opened my eyes to how vibrantly these birds communicate and interact. Different dialects of crow language have been identified in different regions of our country and the world.
Since I’ve been working at home full time, at least two or three times a week I find myself coming out of concentration on my work to realize I was missing a crow event right outside my window. Many times there are two, three, or four of them that are feasting on the lawn or carrying on a conversation between neighborhood trees, maybe planning how to take over the world. Other times, they hold conventions in the trees across the street or in my back yard, and they reach their consensus by talking all at once.
They are clever creatures and have been observed by researchers to use sticks and create tools to reach places inaccessible or to get food that they want. My neighbors have a lime tree in the corner of their yard that is mature enough to stand taller than the fence. It sits within the corner of the fence that I’m able to view from my desk and seems to be a main attraction to these witty creatures since there are abundant mature limes of convenient size.
Lately, I have been seeing four to five crows settle into the branches of the lime tree with full vocals and a mission for whatever strategy has been decided. They hop around, either as decoys or in competition to decide who is going to carry off the next lime. Inevitably, a crow will grab a lime and fly off with at least one or two other birds in pursuit demonstrating their advanced maneuvering skills. Sometimes the lime is dropped and then retrieved by a different bird. No lime is abandoned and eventually, the bird that gets the prize consumes the lime.
Other crows enjoy jumping branch to branch on the tall century plant across the street feasting on the dying flowers or bugs that are eating there as well. Anytime from the first hint of dawn to dusk the crows in my neighborhood may be busy. I don’t know where they roost at night, but I’m sure it is together.
The term gangster is associated with crime, so maybe I should reframe how I’m naming my intelligent friends. They may be lime thieves, but if we look at them like the body of Christ, we could suggest they are working for the Kingdom and bringing in the fruits of harvest.
Reaching Souls Through Community
Reaching souls takes many of the same values and characteristics these birds exhibit: living in community, purposeful communication, planning, and effort toward a common mission, every individual shares different gifts to bless the whole, and voices raised in united praise. All these characteristics we see in the ministry of Jesus and how he trained the disciples.
In Acts 2 we see how the disciples followed this pattern they learned from Jesus,
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.“
My local church made a commitment three years ago to be Mission-driven, and the fruit of that commitment is unmistakable in the working of the Holy Spirit through our prayer experiences, the growing number of Bible studies, the increased online presence, and the intentional planning for evangelism this year months.
Jesus' words in Matthew 28 were spoken for all of us: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Call to Action
The fruit of this work is sweeter than any lime my crow friends can pick. Join us in living like the crows and lets do the work of the Kingdom so we can go Home.