“Bird Dust” is actually a theological extrapolation based on the reply of an astute preschooler during devotions at Mustard Seed Preschool in Franklin, TN.
I was teaching, down on my knees, trying to make Genesis 2 as real as possible. We were actively imagining God creating the world. We looked keenly at the earth (synthetic patterned navy carpet) to watch the wild animals, cows and chickens and birds emerge from the ground. The following week I asked the kiddos where monkeys came from and an enthusiastic little 4 year-old theologian blurted out, “monkey dust!”
Hence my extrapolation – birds must therefore come from bird dust!
Here is one of my "birds" emerging from the "dust" of Westport Beach, MA, last summer... i just love this... if you get on all fours you'll see her wings in a minute...
Ha! Anyways... whether or not this original Edenic acreage was subdivided and titled by genome - cougar dust in the southlands, lizard dust in the desert... I’ll never know but it sure is a fun idea.
What we DO know from the Word is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in complete joyful communion with one another formed every creature from the dust of the ground! Every single creature.
When it was our turn to be created, the Father formed the first man from the dust of the ground and then blew into his nostrils the breath of life. One breath started people! ONE BREATH has sustained humankind. Woah.
Our bodies come from the dust, our souls, our spirits come from the very breath of God Himself. No other creature has this distinction.
Why did He make us?
One reason is “for His glory” or in other words, to display His greatness. Is. 43:6 -7 says, "Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made.”
You were made to show how great He is. Your dependence on His very breath, the fragility of your frame which is spectacular and yet made from dust. Your smile and your tears – the complexity of your emotions. Your ability to reason and to innovate. Your desire to be in community with others, to be loved, needed, and to love others. Your muscles, the impermeable nature of your skin, your throaty laughter, your humor… what a marvel is humankind. And if you question whether saying so detracts from the Creator, fear not. When we stand in awe of His handiwork standing on an ocean shore, the thought hardly enters in, “aren’t I incredible?” We rather boast in the Artist-Mariner Creator.
We are absolutely magnificent creatures that certainly display His greatness. This shock of curls on my head was His idea (please somebody remind me that I just said that when I complain about the fuzz...) Your daughter’s irrepressible smile. The “knowing” look a baby’s focused gaze can sometimes communicate. A young person’s ability to memorize song upon fact upon story. Unbridled laughter and joy, simple trust and belief. Amazing.
God made us as He did because He wanted to reveal what He is like. That is one of the purposes of creation. Read Romans 1:20. He reveals Himself through His Word, His creation, and through His Son. These are windows through which we can understand who God is.
He specifically said in Genesis that man is made in His image, male and female. It takes both to display His image. God has attributes or qualities that make Him – so – GOD! He can be everywhere at once, knows everything, sees everything, can do anything. We cannot. These are called "incommunicable" qualities. He wants us to glorify Him for these.
But the attributes we call “communicable” -- these are the ones He lets us share in. To love, to feel, to respond to human need, to desire relationship, to appreciate beauty, to want justice, and love mercy. Oh and so much more. He wants us to bear forth His image with these to a watching world.
Now. When your child does that annoying thing again that drives you to distraction or worse, consider… "what are the image-bearer qualities that I see in my child at this moment? Can I see past the negative behavior to the heart of what is driving him to be this way right now? Is this a cry for community? For justice? For love?" Appreciating this might alter your response, or shall I say, enlarge it. Your child who was made for complete wholeness and unbroken relationship with God lives in a post-Adamic world of grief and sin and selfishness and preoccupation. Sin short circuits much.
This subject deserves deeper treatment, and before you turn into bird dust reading my long post, I will close with an encouragement to look for the revelation of God’s communicable qualities as well as marvel in His handiwork with those around you. I want to keep unpacking how to look at your world through the four-part paradigm of the Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation, spending some good time in this creation theology.
Stay tuned for more from the Bird House.
Love from one of His beloved,