I spent some time today watching live feed of a pair of eagles caring for their hatchlings in a large cottonwood tree in Iowa. One egg hatched on April 2, a second on April 3, and the third will hatch within a couple of days. You can catch the 24 hour feed here. It was remarkable to watch them – especially around 5 pm central time when one was feeding the hatchlings a fish. The female and male take turns sitting in the nest while the other hunts for food – and the nest is fit for a noble bird. It’s 5-6 feet in diameter and weighs a ton and a half! Watching them feed was interesting, but mostly all they do is groom the nest, occastionally shift their weight, adjust their feathers, and patiently sit, warming their young.
One thing that struck me is how powerful they look – large birds of prey with sharp eyes, a beak for tearing flesh, and large talons. Yet they’re nurturing, carefully and patiently providing their precious offspring – the only three they’ll have this year – with everything they need to get started in life. It made me think of the metaphors Christ uses in the scriptures to liken his care for us to a nurturing mother:
“How oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.” (3 Nephi 10:4)
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” (Isaiah 49:15)
These are tender, even intimate images Jesus chooses to represent the care he has for us. But I very seldom feel that his care is so available and eagerly offered. I wonder why? What can I do to let Christ nurture me? How can he nurture me? These are questions I’ll try to ponder as we approach Easter and see the earth shake off winter and her creatures nurture their little ones.