Anglican Morning Devotion, 9 April 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. 8Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it. 9Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour. 10Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. 11They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart. 12 The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace. 13They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit: and they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 12:7-13; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Being raised in the Blue Ridge Mountain area, blue grass music was a daily fare on the radio. I felt it a bit unsophisticated and countrified. There was a daily mix of hillbilly songs mixed with the spiritual. There was one spiritual song that was commonly aired on a regular basis that I particularly disliked for I thought it was corny and even a little silly – the Great Speckled Bird was the name of the tune. First of all, I had never known a bird of the speckled variety, and I believed the song irreverent for even using the metaphor for a biblical symbol. It was not until I had matured beyond puberty that I began to realize the deeper meaning of the words.
The song was written by a Missouri evangelist and recorded by Roy Acuff who paid 50 cents for the transcript. The song leads off with these three verses that I had never read until I got over my prejudice of it:
Listen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnG7M4BWb7s
1.What a beautiful thought I am thinking
Concerning a great speckled bird
Remember her name is recorded
On the pages of God’s Holy Word.
2. All the other birds are flocking ’round her
And she is despised by the squad
But the great speckled bird in the Bible
Is one with the great church of God.
3. All the other churches are against her
They envy her glory and fame
They hate her because she is chosen
And has not denied Jesus’ name.
The Speckled Bird mentioned in Jeremiah is a different bird from all others that swarm the skies. That Bird is representative of the Church that remains steadfast and faithful to Her Maker. There are others birds, some arrayed in finery and pearls, but that Speckled Bird is not of a common color or appearance. All the other birds are of solid color or mixed parts, but the Speckled Bird has many, many points of distinction that differentiate her from all the others. She is readily identifiable on sight as being different and impossible to counterfeit. In this way, she represents the true Church of God who does not compromise with worldly values or invite worship or song that would demean the reverence owed to God. Her abode is built upon the Word of God and she embraces the Way of the Savior and not the way of deceitful men.
Many of the other birds would like to be like the Speckled Bird in order to gain worldly admiration and respect, but they are unable to change their colors. Just as the leopard cannot change its spots, a question asked in the very next chapter of Jeremiah to the reference posed above: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23) The leopard cannot change his spots because the spots will appear on the hide beneath if the fur is removed. The same is true of the false church. The blemishes are intrinsic to its nature. There are seven churches made mention to prophetically in the Book of Revelations, and I believe there are seven made reference to in Isaiah 4:1 –“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” (Isaiah 4:1) These seven women may refer to the seven churches of Revelation for when women of referred to prophetically, it usually refers to a spiritual power, good or bad. They prefer their own bread (Word) and their own raiment (righteousness) only they desire to be called by the name of Christ to give themselves sophistication and prestige. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord!” (2 Corinthians 6:17)