God's Little Creature

It was almost 1:30 on Sabbath afternoon. We had just arrived at the Shutter Creek Correctional Institution in North Bend, Ore. We had parked the car, and Ron Conway had gone over to the building where we were to hold Seventh-day Adventist services.

Suddenly, we saw him catch a bird. He held it momentarily, examined it and then helped it stand up on the stairs at the entrance. When we got there, we saw a somewhat groggy robin standing there. It had collided head-on with a window and had some blood in its mouth. It was obviously injured; we had no way of knowing how seriously.

When the inmates arrived, they all stopped and watched the robin for a few minutes. When they came into our class, one of them was very quiet and sober. He explained that he was really concerned about that robin.

Then, when our study had been going along for about 10 minutes, another of the inmates said, “I don’t mean to interrupt, but could we just take time to pray for that little bird?” And he offered a beautiful prayer for God’s mercy on the little feathered creature.

Soon, through the window, we saw several corrections officers come and tenderly carry away the injured robin. I don’t know what became of the little bird, but I couldn’t help but see the compassion of both inmates and guards for one of God’s creatures that had been injured.

It was almost Christmas, but the overriding concern of the inmates was not their separation from friends and family—it was for a little bird that had been hurt.

February 01, 2007 / Oregon Conference