Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Creature Feature

Today's passage:  Genesis 1:20-26
     I think that some of the people who work for Disney Pixar are among the most clever people on the planet.  As a writer, I am always fascinated at the way they build a climax, how they create and then resolve a conflict.  Just when we think the character is about to achieve his goal, something causes it to be put just out of reach for him to grasp it, creating that tension that makes for a great story. They also create interesting and memorable characters, even in the ones that are just on the sidelines.
     One of my favorite moments in one of their films (let's see who can guess which one) is when several gulls are sitting in a very famous harbor watching as fish spring upwards from the ocean while echoing "Mine, mine" in a gullish squawk.  Their beady eyes are shining, elbowing each other out to catch their own dinner.
     It is the fifth day of Creation, and had I been a spectator, feet planted on the newly made earth, I would have seen the ocean brimming with life.  Schools swimming, whales leaping, sea horses dancing.  What a sight that would have been!  I would have seen flamingos posing, eagles swooping, swans gliding across ponds, rippling the surface without disturbing the minnows one bit.  The perch and herring wouldn't be bothered at all by the blue heron flying parallel to their pond home, because he would only be admiring his reflection.  He certainly would not be looking for a bite to eat.  The oceans teeming with angelfish and puffers would not know they couldn't wander from their reef homes.  They would not see the danger in the pelican hovering so close, even with his trunk bill open wide.  He would only be yawning, not ready to swallow them up.  Extinct passenger pigeons would have flocked to the trees (since building ledges would not have existed yet), pods of endangered snail-moving right whales would spout peacefully, never aware of a threatened future.
God created the animals
Taken from Standard Bible Story Reader, Book Three
By Lillie A. Faris
Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
The Standard Publishing Company, 1926
     On day six, the grizzly bear would lumber near the stream, only to get a drink, never noticing the streaky pink salmon attempting a herkie, in perfect position for a day's catch.  The barn owl whose dominating shadow would normally send field mice scurrying would only be interested in the wind ruffling his downy feathers.  Gazelles would burst into speed races with cheetahs, not to run for their lives, just for the exercise.
     What a different life it would have been for all of God's creatures.  Whistles, hoots, roars; flashes of color, thunderous hooves surrounding me.  Shy deer eating out of my hand, not really that shy at all.  A crocodile brushing against me (yikes!) wondering if I might drop a morsel for him.  Rainbow macaws perching on my shoulder as if I were Blackbeard. To reference another Disney film, (want to guess again?) it was a "world-class menagerie".  Lincoln Park Zoo (or any zoo, wildlife preserve, animal exhibit) could never replicate those first few days on earth.  Sure, they can gather numerous species of animals together but they could never allow them to wander freely, uncaged, without complications or boundaries.  It is an awesome thing to think how all those instincts cooperated rather than clashed.  And even more exciting is the thought that the earth will one day be like that again.  So maybe I missed it the first time, and can only let my imagination wander for a while, but one day soon, I will see it as it must have been.
Isaiah 11:6-8
6  The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7  And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together:  and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
9  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:  for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 
Indeed, what a day that will be.  My imagination will have to suffice for now, but I know I can't paint a word picture big enough to capture the majesty of that sight.  "Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20b)

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