In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field” and “Look at the birds of the air.” He uses these examples from Nature to make a spiritual point. If he had lived in New Hampshire he might have said “Consider the mergansers.” At least, that is what I heard the Lord say recently.
It was a hot Monday in July – my day off. My wife and I had done some work around the house in the morning. Then she asked what I wanted to do for fun in the afternoon. I said, “Let’s go to the river.” One of my favorite places in the White Mountains is Lower Falls on the Swift River along the Kancamagus Highway.
But July is not the best time to go there. Too many tourists! I like it when there is no one on the rocks but us, but that happens only during the off season. So we went upriver and found a spot with only a few flatlanders. After a little while they left, leaving us to enjoy the river alone. Well, almost alone.
There was a family of mergansers navigating the rapids. I have been to the Swift River many times during my life, but this is the first time I ever saw ducks on this swift moving stretch of the river. It just shows how much rain we have gotten this year! This rocky mountain stream is deep enough this year to attract diving ducks!
The duck clan consisted of a mom and five adolescent offspring. It was hilarious watching them. They would swim against the current, clambering over the rocks, struggling upstream from pool to pool, until they got to the pool right in front of us.
Then the little ones would hop into the current and slide down the river like they were on a ride at a human water park. We watched them do this over and over again for about twenty minutes. It was one of the most enjoyable afternoons I have spent at the river.
Normally I go to the river to meditate quietly on God and his creation. It soothes my soul. The river speaks with the voice of God to me. This time God gave me a special lesson. It just so happened that the day before I had preached a sermon on The Life of the Spirit. I had likened being led by the Spirit to riding the current of a river. This is what I said on that Sabbath morning:
“Living in the Spirit is like riding a river. The Spirit is the River of Living Water, and we are invited to jump in. Once we are in the river, we naturally move with the current. Once we are in the Spirit, we move with the Spirit. All we have to do to is not fight against the current, or swim upstream, or climb onto the river bank. All we need to do is stay in the Spirit, and the Spirit does the rest. This is living by grace. This is being led by the Spirit.”
Maybe the Lord sent me those mergansers to let me know that once in a while I get it right. And to let me know that I should have added how much fun the spiritual life is. Consider the mergansers, for of such are the Kingdom of God.