This is a tale of a chicken. Which, of course, is different than a tail of a chicken.
As you have probably heard or seen by now, we had a strange visitor show up for church last week at Shelby Crossings. Our feathered friend was standing at the door to the office when we arrived on Sunday morning, and has since made her roost next to the air conditioning units outside the building.
It was quite a surreal moment to be met by a hen at the church doors. We have always said we wanted to be welcoming to anyone who wanted to come to our church, but I don’t think we ever imagined that the anyone who would show up would be a chicken. This is certainly not the first time a chicken has been a part of a church function, but usually when they show up they are fried and in a bucket or on a platter.
The story got even crazier as the week progressed. On Tuesday some folks from our church family who live on a farm came to see about adopting the chicken and giving it a new home. After they arrived, one of the employees from the bread distribution center next door saw them and walked over and picked up the bird. And this is where the chicken tale got even more bizarre.
Apparently the chicken had belonged to the man, and had been sick for a while. He had tried to treat its condition, but it never would get better. So, not wanting to see his other chickens infected, he decided it was time to kill the chicken. After a few deadly blows, the lifeless chicken was thrown into the back of his pick-up and he planned to dispose of its body the next day when he went to work.
But when he arrived at the bread store the next day, the now resurrected chicken sprang forth from the bed of the truck. The man was shocked, and just couldn’t bring himself to “kill” the chicken a second time. He figured a coyote would probably come and take care of the dirty deed for him, and left the bird to fend for itself.
He had no idea that it would make its way next door to a kind and loving flock of gracious chicken-lovers who brought her grits, bread, tomatoes, chicken feed and water, and offered her unconditional love. She is truly a church’s chicken, at least for now, and has even been given a name: Benny (as in Benny Hen). Some have mentioned bringing her to the church picnic next week. On a leash, I hope.
I really worked hard to come up with a good “moral of the story” here, to no avail. Really, it’s just a weird and funny tale about an unlikely chicken who showed up at of all places, a church. But isn’t that the story of all of us? Just a bunch of lost, sick and confused birds, beaten down by the world, who find a second chance at new life when we come to Christ, and to his unlikely followers, the church.
I’m sure glad to be a part of this “flock” with each of you. I am praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.