The Church: One Great Murmuration for Christ

The European Starling is a small to medium-sized bird without any particularly interesting or inspiring features.  It, in fact, is most frequently referred to as the Common Starling.  But, when these Common Starlings join together in flocks, numbering in the millions, something magically beautiful transpires.  The flocks, known also as murmurations, fly together in tight formation, weaving, gliding, contracting and expanding.  Constantly changing arrangements.  Continually guided by new leaders.  Creating curious shapes against the spring skies of Jutland, Denmark.

A sight only glimpsed by a few.  A sight that should be seen by all.  A sight that can be enjoyed now:

I fail to tire of watching these murmurations.  I’m struck and awed by the beauty, by the grace, by the orchestration of the flock.  Watching the murmuration the first time, I immediately imagined the robe of the Lord – whose train fills the temple (Isaiah 6:1) and whose hem brings healing to the suffering (Mark 5:27-30).

As I consider the contrast between a single Common Starling and a collection of commoners joined together, I can’t help but to also reflect on how this mirrors the Church.

Single, solitary Christians have small to medium-sized impact, with only a few interesting or inspiring results.  But, when Christians join together as the Church, the body of Christ, numbering in the millions, something magically beautiful transpires.  The Church ebbs and flows, changing shape and style.  Constantly changing arrangements.  Continually guided by new leaders.  Creating impact upon the world it serves.

And as the Church moves and works together in tight formation, it fills the temples with glory and praise, and brings healing to the suffering.

The needs in today’s world are as great as the vast Denmark sky.  And yet, when we join together as one great Murmuration for Christ, others will be struck and awed by the beauty, by the grace, by the orchestration, and the Leader, of the flock.

  • Kristen, this is lovely. Thanks for this amazing illustration – I’m going to link it from my “Eye is on the Sparrow” devotional for this week, as it fits in nicely with the theme.

  • Kristen.

    Love your musings here. That video is profound. Will use somehow. Wow!!! I saw this in person once. Just incredible, right?


    • AJ – to see this in person would be breathtaking – I can’t hardly imagine. I didn’t know these murmurations even existed before seeing this video, but I think seeing a “live” version of this phenomenon just got added to my bucket list. I love too that this is such powerful imagery for so many things – it’s a great illustration and one I look forward to using it soon in speaking as well…

  • I remember a time in my childhood when a flock of starlings flew literally in the town I lived by the millions. They filled the near by woods and there were birds seemingly everywhere. I could not fathom the number or why they descended upon my town. It was at dusk on a late Oct. or early Nov evening. Their noise was deafening. Being a boy, I was outside watching until my Mom chased me back inside

    • Wow Robert – what an experience that must have been! Where did you grow up? The one article I read indicated these huge flocks exist only in Denmark – but obviously not! I bet this video brought back quite the memories!