Avian Worship…

Avian Worship…

~  by a j mithra and Lee

The Bible says,” But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; And the birds of the heavens, and they shall tell thee” Job 12:6

Birds are the most beautiful of all creations… Aren’t they? Of course they are.. If we have the heart to learn, there is indeed so much that we can learn from them; from living an organized lifestyle with what little they have and the way they take themselves and their homes and kids in times of adversities… Above all, we can learn a lot about music, about music and the most important part played by music in its life….

Birds have never been to a university. But the fact is that, most of the universities around the world are behind birds, learning new things everyday about them.

Out of all that we can learn from birds, the most amazing habit is their singing, what the birders call as bird calls of bird songs.  Singing is their habit and way of living, but for us, singing is a hobby and we try to earn a living out of it… Remember God had created us to worship..

Birds are the only creations which start their day with singing and end their day with singing… You know why birds sing at dawn? It is just that they want to advertise to this world that they are still alive..

We call ourselves as Christians.. But do we really have Christ in us? How many mornings did we advertise to this world that JESUS – THE LIFE dwells in us? If we don’t sing praises in the morning, we should definitely scan our heart and soul to see if we are dead or alive.  For the Bible says,

The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.  (Psalms 115:17)

Oh! What joy they should have in their life to do so?  A small Sun bird’s call can be heard as far as 300 to 400 meters. If a bird is as big as a human and if it sings,

Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica) by Clement Francis

Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica) by Clement Francis

(PURPLE-RUMPED SUNBIRD)

its song can be heard as far as 3 to 4 kilometers… Well, that is what Ornithologists say… To sing that powerful, birds need lots of energy. Hence, they need to eat very often, because birds burn lot of calories on singing…

How loud do we sing in Church? Or do we sing at all in our personal prayer? Or do we act as if we are worshiping the Lord will all our heart in Church? Bible says, “Make a joyful noise,” it did not say voice, it says NOISE. Joshua and his men made NOISE and the fort of Jericho crumbled. Let us do it the Joshua way.

Maybe their early morning singing is the reason that they are able to fly hundreds of miles every day in search of food and water and yet returns home with so much of energy to end their day with another open-air concert …  There is a saying which goes like this “Laughter is the best medicine.” Birds can’t laugh… Is that why they sing to show their joy? Where there is joy, there is strength…  Prophet Nehemiah knew that secret that is why he says,

….: for the joy of the Lord is your strength  (Nehemiah 8:10)

Is that the reason why the birds are so strong that they can fly and we can’t? Birds never go to a doctor because they know that their music can heal them… Music has the power to heal you know?

Kind David’s music healed King Saul isn’t it? Your worship can heal people’s body, mind and soul. After all, GOD has kept life and death in our tongue. Let us use it for HIS glory..

Well, how many of us start or dare to start our day with singing? Where there is singing there is joy and where there is joy there is strength… It sounds so simple isn’t it? And it’s not just simple but, it’s powerful too… Birds know this secret and that’s why they bring so much joy through their singing…

No matter what the situation is, it is time for us to start our day with singing, for the KING is returning very soon. If we do not have the practice of singing here, we would never be able to sing in heaven along with the angels.

Birds sing in perfect pitch and perfect rhythm… Musicians use a software called “NEUNDO” for recording and the default set for the Tempo is 120 BPM (beats per minute)… The rhythm of the song of most birds is set to the tempo of 120 BPM… It sounds as if they had invented NEUNDO…Isn’t it quite astonishing or amazing or whatever you may call it?  The syncopation of bird songs has intricate patterns and most of them are new to men… They sing very short phrases compared to human singing, but, their syncopation has complicated but complete rhythmic patterns…

Once as I was birding, I saw a Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) by Nikhil Devasar

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti) by Nikhil Devasar

(CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER)

perched on a dry tree. Suddenly the bird flew as far as about 50 meters and flew back to the same place where it was perched with a dragon-fly stuffed into its beak.. The dragon-fly was still alive. So, the little bird whacked its beak. Tak, tak, tak, tak, tak, five times on either side on the branch where it was perched to kill the dragon-fly all in one motion… Was just wondering, why it whacked five times… Then I found that, in music a rhythmic phrase always ends on the first beat of the next bar… Don’t we sing in a funeral? That’s what the Bee-eater did?  Hm

Plain wren,

Plain Wren (Cantorchilus modestus) ©WikiC

Plain Wren (Cantorchilus modestus) ©WikiC

(PLAIN WREN)

Atherton Scrubwren,

Atherton Scrubwren (Sericornis keri) by Ian

Atherton Scrubwren (Sericornis keri) by Ian

(ATHERTON SCRUB WREN) – Video by KeithB

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by Lee at Circle B

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by Lee at Circle B

(CAROLINA WREN)

and even Babblers,

Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata) by Ian

Common Babbler (Turdoides caudata) by Ian

(COMMON BABBLER) – Video

they spontaneously sing complicated rhythmic patterns like a seasoned jazz player… Most composers avoid composing on 5/8 rhythm because of its limitation and the complications involved in the execution of a song in this rhythm…

But, I’ve heard a Rustic Bunting’s bird call

Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica) ©WikiC

Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica) ©WikiC

(RUSTIC BUNTING)

from the Macaulay’s Library of Cornell’s lab of ornithology, sing in 5/8 rhythmic pattern… I felt so small in front of this small little bird when I heard that song… How it is possible for this little bird to sing in this one of the most complicated rhythmic pattern so spontaneously?

Each individual of Oriental Magpie Robin

Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) by Nikhil Devasar

Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis) by Nikhil Devasar

(ORIENTAL MAGPIE ROBIN)

can sing more than fifteen songs per individual and each one is different… Just imagine how much competition would be there to impress upon the females?

There are birds like the Malabar Whistling Thrush,

Malabar Whistling Thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii) by Nikhil Devasar

Malabar Whistling Thrush (Myophonus horsfieldii) by Nikhil Devasar

(MALABAR WHISTLING THRUSH)

which is considered as one of the best singers of the bird community… Bird call specialists say that you would mistake its singing for a human whistling a song… But, I personally feel that, that statement shows human ego… If I sound arrogant, please forgive me for that, because, I personally feel that the song of the Malabar Whistling Thrush or any other bird on planet earth is ORIGINAL… NO COMPARISONS PLEASE… Each bird’s songs are special and they know that too.. That is why birds never get jealous of each other’s singing… Do they?

Researchers say that, if a bird doesn’t learn to sing early, the percentage of survival is minimized…  This means Birds sings for survival… The mother bird feeds the chick which shouts the most first… So, the louder you sing the more you eat…

God said,

I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalms 81:10)

Imagine if the same rule applies for mankind, how many of us would still be alive? Most would’ve starved to death and Churches would be empty isn’t it? How long are we going to zip our mouth in the presence of the Lord? Let us open our mouth and He shall open the windows of heaven and fill us and we shall over flow..

Birds sing to attract their mate… A bird which sings the best gets the most attractive mate… If again, the same rule applies to us, scores of us would still be bachelors isn’t it?  If again, we don’t sing, our eternal bridegroom would never come near us. Because, our GOD dwells among our praises..

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (Psalms 22:3)

Remember, most of us prefer to sing in the bathroom rather than in the church! We sing for applause, name, fame and money. If we start applauding, each time a bird sings, I wonder if any bird could live near us, for they will fly away and never venture to sing before a man again… But, Birds sing for the sheer joy of singing… When would we learn to live like them?

An African bird called the Slate colored Bou Bou

Slate-colored Boubou (Laniarius funebris) ©©

Slate-colored Boubou (Laniarius funebris) ©©

(SLATE COLORED BOU BOU) – Video

has a sound which resembles the wood block, a percussion instrument, which originated from Africa… Maybe the Africans were inspired by the bird’s call… There are tales after tales that say how man was inspired by nightingales and sparrows and cuckoos for their inspiring songs…

Birds never keep singing the same old songs all through their lives… To impress upon their mates they try to outwit their male subordinates by improvising their songs time and again… After all, female birds feel that, the males which sing the most complicated songs are the ones which are capable of taking care of their families better…  Is that why, great teachers like Socrates and Pythagoras taught music first before they taught mathematics and astronomy?

King David knew God’s heart that is why he says,

I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. (Psalms 144:9)

We stop teaching our kids with rhymes than music; and that too only till the kindergarten level… If only we had been singing all through our lives, this world would’ve been rid of jealousy, ego, hatred, terrorism and the list may go on and on… If Osama Bin Laden had practiced music, he would’ve been a carrying a 4-stringed Oudh – an Arabian stringed instrument plucked with the Quill of an Eagle’s feather, instead of an AK47…

Birds live in perfect harmony not only among themselves but also with the flow of nature… Once I heard a territorial call of an Indian bird called Common Iora.

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) by Clement Francis

(COMMON IORA)

Each one was answering one another’s territorial calls. They both were singing similar phrase. Slowly, the calls turned a bit aggressive I thought; because, one was answering before the other could finish singing its phrase. At one particular point when one overlapped the other’s call, like what we call singing cannon in music, it turned into a harmony. As a musician, I know it was perfect harmony. But, I don’t know if it was intentional or accident. All that I heard was perfect harmony. They are in harmony with time and season. Rain or shine, no matter what happens around them the birds are able to sing.

Do we find harmony at home, in school, in our office, in our church? If only we knew the power of harmony, we Christians will not have thousands of denominations. If we knew the effect of harmony, by this time every soul would have accepted Christ as their savior… If we had learned to live in harmony, this world would be a better place to live.

A home or a street or a town or a city or a state or a country which encourages and practices music will live in PERFECT HARMONY…  After all music is all about harmony and perfection of body, mind and soul… Most Christian families do not have family prayer and worship.. We think that Sunday worship in Church is suffice. Unless we live in perfect harmony at home, would it be possible to have harmony in the places where we go. Well, ministry starts at home.

It is because of us trying to move against the flow of nature that the world is facing severe biological catastrophe. If only we could learn to live in harmony with nature? This world would be the same as it was in the beginning. It may be too late and too hard to live in harmony with nature right now. But, we can surely postpone the inevitable to a certain extent. This can happen only when we unite together in harmony and save earth so that they Birds can sing and sing and sing forever and ever… Come on, rain or shine, let us all learn to sing like birds at all times and live in PERFECT HARMONY with GOD and HIS creations..…

(a j mithra wrote the article and Lee supplied some photos, videos and the sounds-not all recordings match his descriptions)

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