Saturday, January 25, 2014

Birds & the PM in Bible Land

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Laureen Harper take a tour of the future site of the Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary Visitor and Education Centre in Hula valley, Israel on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  
 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  
 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?   
                                                                                            Matthew 6                         

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been in the Middle East and during that time he went to the birds, and I'm glad he did. Harper and his wife Laureen did some touristy things on the trip, including visit the Hula Lake Nature and Bird Park in the north of Israel. The park  is on a migration route for birds between Europe and Asia and Africa with 500 million birds passing through yearly.

The Jewish National Fund of Canada is sponsoring a visitor centre at the site that will be named after Prime Minister Harper, which is a nice honour. After a ceremony to dedicate the cornerstone of the building, Harper and wife Laureen got to see thousands of cranes feeding in the fields. Migratory birds travel up the great Rift Valley of Africa toward Europe and then follow the extension of that rift which is the valley of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River. I have been in Israel as storks have been making that journey and seen them in large flocks.

As I say, I'm pleased the Harpers had a chance to take in the historical sites as well as represent Canada during the trip. And it's good that they can learn more about the natural history of the region. Israel is not a biblical theme park representing a distant time. There are other aspects which are worth exploring. Jesus was a person of his time, so he was aware of the rhythms of agriculture, fauna and flora, the preciousness of water. He climbed hills and as he walked he noticed the flowers.

I am currently reading a book called Consider the Birds by Debbie Blue. It is about the birds of the bible and it is a clever, informative, and thought-provoking volume about the many avian characters of scripture.

Any comments about the Harpers "going to the birds?"


colinm said...

Well now, birds need habitat to thrive. Can our government's current economic priorities guarantee that habitat would survive? I am not very optimistic. I understand that I exist in a world of contradictions-I drive a car, I want to be warm in the winter, and I expect cheap food prices. And, oh yes, a vacation of some kind each year. But I have to challenge whether or not our government's policies allow us the minimum of our desires, or feeding the greed of the few at the top. Are we the stewards of God's creation or the feeders at his trough?

Frank said...

Good one Colin!
Interesting that Harper takes such an interest in birds in Israel, after trashing environmental protection safeguards here at home.