What do Queen Elizabeth, Elvis, Mike Tyson, and Leon of Fitch’s Grocery fame have in common? They’ve each stroked the feathers of a pigeon, lofted it in the air and set it free. They’ve all spent time of waiting, watching, and hoping for the bird’s return.
No one knows for sure how a homing pigeon manages to find the way back to its loft. Some credit the bird’s ability to read the magnetic fields of the earth, others say it can hear at a very low frequency and pick up sound waves that bounce off the landscape. Still others credit a mysterious ability of the birds to visually read landmarks and geographical features. This is all speculation. There is no definitive answer as to how the tiny pigeon brain can keep the bird on course for great distances and take it ‘home’.
Across the centuries people have enjoyed these amazing birds. Some enjoy the sport of competitive pigeon racing and others simply find pleasure in raising and keeping the birds. Leon is one who just enjoys the birds and likes to release them and watch them fly out and then return home.
A few months ago, I was preaching the farewell message at the Wilmore Camp Meeting. After decades, the camp meeting was closing and would forever be just a memory of glorious days of the past. To send the ‘grand ole lady’ out in a triumphant way, I invited Leon to bring seven white pigeons to release. After the service, a crowd gathered on the grounds. I lifted my shofar and gave seven blasts, and then Leon released the birds. They circled the campgrounds three times. They were radiant as they banked in unison; their wings resplendent in the golden glow of the evening sun. Then they were gone – answering the homing call, they returned to their loft.
God has placed within each of us a desire to be at home with Him in heaven, our eternal home. The Homing Call of God is never fully erased, even by the most grievous of sins. In Psalm 116:7, a pilgrim on his way back from captivity in Babylon sings, “Return unto rest, O my soul.” But there is no rest for the soul except in God. St. Augustine said, “We came forth from Him, and we are homesick until we return.”
Legend tells that Jesus, on his visit to Jerusalem at 12 years old, was found discussing with the rabbis the question, “Where shall rest be found?” One said, “In the abundance of the world.” Another said, “In the good opinion of our fellowman.” A third answered, “ In being content with present conditions.” A fourth responded, “In enjoying the simple pleasures of life.” A fifth concluded, “In self-respect founded in virtue.” Jesus remarked, “None ever rests until he finds God.”
Our souls are stirred to heavenward flight by the homing device God has built within each of us. In the words of the country gospel song, “Some glad morning when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away; to a home on God’s celestial shore, I’ll fly away”. Do you sense that homing call? I trust your answer is, Yes! If not, turn from you sin, repent, and believe in Jesus.
He Is Calling You Home
~ Brother Roy