My social media this week seemed to be flooded with a certain snowy owl, who made its break through as a photographic model in Montreal.
If you’ve seen it, you may recall this owl’s image was captured not by a professional photographer, nor by an amateur – but by a traffic camera.
Unexpected, to say the least.
Yet it has been described as gorgeous, stunning, mesmerising, spectacular, magnificent, beautiful, wonderful… the list goes on.
The image, the story has gone viral. As Québec’s Transport Minister Robert Poëti says on his Facebook page, “Les belles nouvelles voyagent vite et bien !” (Good news travels fast and well!)
Indeed, it does – but it needs people to recognise it, be delighted by it, and then to deliver it.
So what does that mean for us as Christians? Can we learn by the snowy owl example?
Of course we can – and with more impactful, longer lasting results.
Liturgically, we are in a time of constant wonder and surprise; every day is a celebration of the unexpected.
Within the (short) season of Christmastide, we’ve celebrated the feasts of St Steven, the Holy Innocents, St John the Evangelist, the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus, the Epiphany, and the Baptism of the Lord; we’ve also commemorated Thomas Becket (Archbishop of Canterbury) and John West (Missionary in the Red River District).
All in all: a very busy time full of truly good news! Exciting news! Often, unexpected news!
These examples in the Scriptures and in our Christian history are truly amazing. They are details of surprising appearance of the presence of our Lord, of the example to follow God’s laws to love and serve God and world. They remind us that in all times and in all places, God is present, God is active, God is inviting us to engage in the mission and ministry to which we have been called.
Truly, we have all been called to ministry, both as individuals in unique ways, and together in sharing the Good News of God in Christ.
However God is working in your life: through the liturgical delights, the back-to-work/school realities, the revelations given through prayer, the surprises on social media: may we recognise God’s presence – unexpected, beautiful, and waiting to be shared.