Monday, June 23, 2008

Counting Sparrows and Hair

"Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's consent. As for you, every hair of your head has been counted; so do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows". (Mat 11:29-31)
The above verses are taken from part of this Sunday's Gospel, and gives reason for a layman to marvel a bit.

First, a few facts:

- Sparrows are the most common and the most plentiful of all birds.
- In North America alone, the population of house sparrows is estimated at 150 Million.
- The average person has up to 100,000 hairs on his head.
- Asian hair grows the fastest and has the greatest elasticity.

Now back to the verses.

It is interesting that even in those days, common sparrows are caught and sold as pets. I have seen many instances of these being sold at fairs, even outside churches for - yes, a few coins. The enterprising sellers even dye the birds a variety of colors to make them appear like exotic birds. Sadly, these sparrows are not suited for pets, and they expire soon in captivity. Yes these birds are bountiful, and you see them almost everywhere. Commonplace and insignificant as they are, the abundance of these plentiful sparrows can only mean they have a special place in maintaining the ecological balance of the earth. Indeed we cannot doubt that “not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's consent.”.

The matter about the hair is even more notable. Even in this age of technological wonders, I don’t think there is a feasible way of counting the hairs on one’s head. Well, we tease my brother-in-law of attempting to do it in the face of his widening forehead, that’s why he takes so long in the bathroom. But even those going bald cannot possibly do it, which reminds me of a little bit of curiosity with baldness. It is also a fact that baldness is more common among Europeans and Westerners than among Asians. It is more likely another nature balance thing, as the sun shines more intensely in Asia, and to better protect the head, Asians have been blessed to have more luxurious hair. But going bald or not, the scripture tells us each one of those strands is counted from the heavens, and everything in our being cannot be kept hidden.

Being indefinitely more valuable than sparrows, with even each and every hair strand of concern to our loving God, we have indeed no reason to be afraid when we walk with Him. In the face of natural and man-made calamities as in the recent typhoon, God always prevails.

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