July 10, 2022
Mynas have a reputation. It’s a reputation that most of us wouldn’t want to have. They’re known for their loudness, and their squabbling, and their arguments, and their really loud arguments. Basically, they’re known for being petty, noisy, and aggressive. Not the reputation you’d like to have.
You will notice that attending church and listening to stories and songs and sermons isn’t on that list of things mynas are known for. But there was a myna who liked to perch near a church here on Hawai’i Island, and he actually stayed quiet to listen. He liked the stories that Jesus told.
One of his favorites was the story of the Good Samaritan. I’m sure you know it: after a man was beaten up by robbers, the person who came to help was not somebody the poor man knew, or one of the people that you’d expect to help. It was a Samaritan, somebody that you’d have thought would be among the attackers, not the helpers. It was the Samaritan that cleaned the man up, put bandages on him, brought him to a safe place where he could rest and recover, and paid an innkeeper to take care of him.
But who, wondered the myna, was a Samaritan in the bird world of Hawai’i Island? Who would you expect to make bad things worse? Who would surprise you if they turned around and helped? Who, by making things better, just might change the world around them?
Just then a cat came by. The myna perched on a branch above it, and instead of launching into a warning call, greeted the cat with a friendly chirp. Then he told the cat all about the Good Samaritan, about somebody who needed help getting help from the most unlikely somebody else.
“What do you think?” said the myna to the cat. “Could you be like the Samaritan? Could you help a bird instead of trying to catch it?”
The cat, I must say, was rather confused, but also intrigued. “I don’t know,” she said honestly. “I can see how that would make a big difference in the world, if I and my fellow cats started being helpful instead of being hunters.”
“I know somebody else who could be a Good Samaritan,” piped up another voice. It was a saffron finch who was perched in dense foliage of the same bush as the myna. Neither the cat nor the myna had noticed her.
“Who else could be a Good Samaritan?” asked the myna.
“You can,” said the saffron finch. “You know how you screech at us sometimes? You could stop doing that.”
“Now that I think of it,” said the cat, “there’s a few dogs that could definitely learn something from the Good Samaritan.”
“I guess,” said the myna slowly, “that nearly any of us could be the one who needs help. And I guess that nearly any of us could be the one who, against all expectation, is the one to bring help.
“We can all be a Good Samaritan.”
by Eric Anderson
Unfortunately, there was a technical error and the worship service of July 10, 2022, was not recorded.
Photo by Eric Anderson