Friday, August 05, 2011

Headline News

I was listening to the morning radio news here in Guernsey.   Now I know that this is the time of the year that the news hacks call 'the silly season' - mid summer in Britain - but I was unprepared for the shock of the main story but one. 'Outrage as dog attacks small bird on the beach!'  In this small community we get a daily local newspaper which is eagerly read from cover to cover in the majority of homes.  We are used to being regaled with lurid reports such as 'Boy falls from bike: taken to A & E'.  Don't think for a moment that I minimise the potential danger of falling from bicycles as one poor man did just that over here recently and died as a result.   No, it's just the quaintness I suppose of a community where thankfully major crime is rare and small things become newsworthy.

By the way - the dog was being very naughty - and the owner was negligent as there were warning signs nearby.  The bird was no ordinary one either - it was a young Oyster Catcher.  So, the plot thickens.  The headline didn't quite say it all - but it still brings a smile to my lips when I remember that there are places where even the murder of human beings hardly makes news.

And then I thought about a headline from two millennia ago. 'Sale Price of Sparrows Hits an All Time Low - Two Sold for a Penny'.  Nothing unusual there you might say.  But it's the next bit that grabbed my attention.  'Yet not one of them falls to the ground without God knowing it - and allowing it' (my paraphrase of Matthew 10:29).  So maybe the headline writer at BBC Guernsey was right.  It is news that a small bird was killed on the beach near here, at least to Almighty God!

When I think about that I take heart.  For the very same passage in the Gospel goes on to say that even the very hairs on my head are numbered - and that in God's eyes I am of more value than many sparrows. And so are you.  And yes - I will keep my dog on a leash when there are birds about - you never know Who is watching!