Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

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Written by Peter Langbroek
When Mr. DenBoer heard the grade six children cry "Hummingbird!" he knew something was wrong, as he was walking toward the portable. "Mr. DenBoer," cried Carmen, running toward him, "there's a hummingbird in the portable!" Not a problem, Mr. DenBoer thought. Birds had flown into the classroom before, and he had gotten them outside.

Children packed the entrance as Mr. DenBoer squeezed his way through the door "Where is the bird?" "It's up there, sir," Ivetta giggled. Sure enough, there was the hummingbird, zipping and buzzing by the ceiling. "O.K., open all the doors and windows!" bellowed Mr. DenBoer above the students' voices.

"They're open, sir!" shouted Matt.

Just then the first morning bell rang. Everybody in your seats!" Mr. DenBoer did some quick thinking. He grabbed an empty box and stood up on a desk. "Everybody on your desks, and steer the bird toward me." The classroom exploded with giggling and chatter as all the kids climbed on their desks.

The tiny bird buzzed and buzzed, back and forth, by the ceiling. Mr. DenBoer, in all his twenty-two years of teaching had seen nothing like this. In '76 there was a sparrow in the classroom; in '81 a robin; and in '92 a starling. Those birds were smart enough to escape through an open door or window. But this hummingbird chose to fly up in order to escape!

Just then, Mr. DenBoer saw Matt. "Matt, get off the desk!" Matt was standing on the teacher's desk with a baseball glove, trying to catch the bird. The children waved their arms, trying to guide the bird to the box which red-faced Mr. DenBoer was holding up in front of the class.

Task impossible, Mr. DenBoer thought as he came down from the desk. "Sit down, everybody!" he yelled. Poor bird, he thought. Poor teacher! What could he do while the bird was zooming around?!

Then he had an idea. "O.K., class," he said, "let's get out our Bibles and turn to Psalm 124." There was some order as the kids took their Bibles out from their desks. "Whose turn is it to read, Melanie?"

"It's Allen's turn." Allen got up to read Psalm 124.

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now Israel
may say; if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up
quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the
waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our
soul; Then the proud watchers had gone over our soul...

Allen stopped reading because Mr. DenBoer was glaring at Carmen. "Carmen, is this how you act while we're reading the Bible?"

"I'm sorry, sir," Carmen said. "It's hard to stop giggling when a hummingbird is flying over us!" With that the whole class was in an uproar.

Mr. DenBoer thought.

Carmen, get Mrs. Beeke." (Mrs. Beeke knew a lot about birds.) Carmen dashed out of the portable to get Mrs. Beeke.

Allen continued reading:

Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
Our soul escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped...

"Stop reading, Allen," Mr. DenBoer said. "Tell me, kids, how is that hummingbird feeling right now?"

Hands flew up. "Scared," said Michael.

"Tired," said Rochelle.

"He wants to get out," said John.

"Strange thing." said Mr. DenBoer, "he can escape. but he doesn't. He tries to fly up. He's like us. We're trapped in our own sins, but we try to escape by our own pride, which gets us nowhere. Look at verse 2. It's Israel that was trapped by its enemies. They felt like they were caught up in a flood, ready to drown and die. And they felt like a trapped bird. In those days people set nets to trap birds as they flew into them. It's not the same, exactly, but this hummingbird feels trapped too, and he wants to escape."

Just then, the class looked up. There was the hummingbird, hanging upside down from a fluorescent lamp. At this moment Mrs. Beeke entered the room with Carmen.

"It looks like you're in time, Mrs. Beeke," said Mr. DenBoer

"I know," laughed Mrs. Beeke. "Carmen told me all about it"

Mrs. Beeke looked up. Mr. DenBoer gave her a chair. She climbed up the chair and gingerly took hold of the tired and frightened bird. The children flocked around her to see the bird. "What a beautiful bird! See its colours on its breast."

Mrs. Beeke went outside as the children followed hen In that warm, late spring day, she unloosed her tender grip. For a moment, the stunned bird looked dead on the palm of her hand. Then it got up. In a flash, it flew away.

The children returned to their desks. Mr. DenBoer asked, "Now, how does the bird feel?" Hands flew up.

"Free!!" cried Ivetta, gesturing with her hands.

"Exactly!" smiled Mr. DenBoer "Read on Allen"

Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

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