Posted by: cindybythesea | April 3, 2012

A Place By Your Altar, O Lord

       Zebra Dove 

“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young — a place, near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.”  Psalm 84:3

I was surprised the other day on coming home from work to find a number of loose twigs strewn about on the sidewalk in front of my door. Wondering, if perhaps, the wind had blown them in, I was just about to get a broom, when, I looked up and saw the sweet, bright eyes of one of our common local birds, a Zebra Dove, peering down at me from the overhang; sitting on her newly erected nest.

I say, “she”, although, it could have been a “he”, as both parents, I have since learned, take turns sitting on the nest. For now, I will assume, it was “Mom” and, as I was looking up at her, she, was looking down at me; by all appearances, unconcerned, at my intrusion in to her new little home.

For the past two days, I have observed with a great deal of curiosity, this little bird and her patience in caring for and protecting her nest. Hour after hour, she sits there – no TV, no I-pod, no one to talk to and, I marveled at how even the smallest of God’s creatures do instinctively, what, we, as humans, often do not.  And, on watching her, the words to Psalm 84:3 came to mind -and, I was reminded of the place of safety and contentment that can only be found, in dwelling next to the altar of God.

What a joy, it has been to observe this little bird. And, I was thinking about this as I pulled  in to my drive way after work this afternoon. It was starting to get late, and I wondered as I got out of my car, if there would be enough light in my doorway for taking a photo of the bird. But, as soon, as I reached my door, I knew something was wrong, for I noticed immediately, that the nest was gone.

 I couldn’t believe my eyes!  The nest was completely gone, not even a twig on the ground, the only evidence that a nest had just hours earlier been above my doorway; tiny, scattered fragments of white egg-shell and golden egg yolk drying on the sidewalk below.

At first I thought, perhaps, another bird or animal had disturbed the nest, but, then, I realized in the absence of the nest or any part of it, – that most likely it had been deliberate; whoever, was responsible had swept the broken nest swept away, without, bothering to clean up the gooey yolk and shell.

As I looked at the dried remains of what would have been new little birds in just a few weeks, I was horrified and devastated – the bright trusting eyes of the bird and her steady, but watchful eye over me, as I came and went all weekend long still vivid in my mind.  And, I was especially saddened to think that the place she had selected for having her young; a place, which she had considered to be safe, unfortunately, for her and her un-born chicks, was not.

On another, but, similar note – today, seven innocent people were killed at a small Christian University in California. Something that for me, somehow, was underscored by the broken eggs and dried yolk splattered in front of the doorway to my house this afternoon.

Senseless ……. senseless …..    and, how, utterly hopeless, we are, without Jesus.  

Next to your altar, O Lord, that’s where I want to dwell.  No other place, Lord, but, with you!

Even the sparrow and the swallow know the best place to be, is next to Jesus!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper, who love thee” Psalm 122:6

Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!  Cindy








  1. Amen Cindy!

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