“Tear down the walls between us, / Make way for love to heal us. / Show us the way of Jesus. / Where He is found / In common ground.”- Matt Maher, Common Ground
“Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD.”- Jeremiah 8:7 (ESV)
In 1941, Whooping Cranes stood on the brink of extinction, with only twenty-one birds remaining. But today, the International Crane Foundation labels the trend as increasing. As a result, the current captive and wild population of Whooping Cranes stands at 802.
Furthermore, these magnificent cranes reach a height of 5 feet, with a wingspan of 7 feet. They weigh between 15 and 17 pounds. Also, their eclectic diet consists of plant tubers, blue crabs, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and insects.
The Whooping Cranes I photographed are part of the Eastern Migratory Population (81 total), introduced to Wisconsin in 2001. The cranes migrate to wintering areas, primarily in western Indiana and northern Alabama, in late October and early November. To prepare for the journey, a Whooping Crane family (max of 4) joins a larger flock of Sandhill Cranes.
Writing in his latest book, Resilient, John Eldredge recalls the first time he found himself truly lost. He decided to go elk hunting with his two young sons – high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. A decent snowstorm the night before helped them to see many animal tracks.
Then, John and his sons came upon human tracks. They sat and stared in disbelief – they thought they were alone on the mountain. But slowly, slowly as the sun rose, it dawned on them. The tracks belonged to them. Instead of walking in a straight line, they wound up walking in circles!
Therefore, John observes, the human brain processes information in narrative form. Hence, story serves as (a) the way we orient ourselves in the world and (b) the way we figure things out. The story we hold to at any given time shapes our perceptions, hopes, and expectations. It provides a place for us to stand. So, John asks, what story do you tell yourself – or let others tell you? Most significantly, is your story the story God’s telling? Show us the way of Jesus!
However, John exhorts, despite what the world shouts at you, the story of God remains the story of the world. Certainly, we find this a hard thing to hang on to. Yet, John underscores, it’s the most important thing to hang on to. Above all, the apostle Paul wrote this to the church at Ephesus:
“At the center of this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.”- Ephesians 1:22-23 (THE MESSAGE)
Consequently, the author stresses, we need to assess our emotional state. Do your emotions reflect confidence in Jesus as absolute Lord of everything on earth – galaxies to governments? That Christ’s church occupies center stage, not the world? That the final word belongs solely to Christ?
Every human heart beats because Jesus Christ sustains it. In addition, the sun rose today and rises again tomorrow, because Jesus actually rules. Also, think of the myriad number of beautiful things taking place in nature – whooping cranes still migrate.
In conclusion, John offers a practical example to show us the way of Jesus:
“The story of God, the story of Jesus Christ . . . is so important for friends of God to keep in front of us; it’s one of those things to put on a sticky note on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror: the story of God has been, is now, and always will be the story of the world.”