The Parrot Who Could See
[A retelling of John 9]
“When I was younger faith was so black and white. That has changed as I’ve got older. Sadly, for some of my friends it has become grey and lifeless but for me it has not become grey but instead become beautifully multicoloured.”
Let me tell you a story…or at least a little bit of a much bigger story. This tiny bit is set in a forest, or to be more exact a large clearing in a forest…but maybe where is the wrong place to start. Perhaps the question of who is a better place to let our story find life. A polar bear, parrot, panda, zebra, raccoon, tapir, penguin, skunk, and wise old badger were sat in a circle on the earthen floor. Oh, and of course, the carpenter. However, he was just sat on a tree stump at the edge of the trees watching the conversation and whittling a small stick.
In the middle of the circle of animals was a box, which the polar bear pointed to as he addressed the group in his deep grunt-like tones. “We need to sort this out. The ideas go in the box and then we decide,” the bear said snarling his teeth, full of danger and threat. “Who speaks first?” growled the bear with a snort of air punctuating his question.
The raccoon had been restless since she arrived in the clearing. She had been scared to speak and upset the polar bear but he had invited them to speak now so she grabbed the opportunity. “Well, as I see it, its absolutely ridiculous, you know, how all of this is even being discussed. As I see it, you know, that man is a charlatan. An imposter and, you know, a dangerous one at that. We can’t just have everyone telling fantastical stories like this. People will hear them and see things which just aren’t there. They’ll start to believe things about him which just aren’t true.” The raccoon scribbled on her piece of bark and threw it gracefully into the box, “I say, you know, that this is impossible. It is not what The Creator would be happy with. Not at all!”
“So,” the panda started with an inquisitive drawl, slowly waving a piece of bamboo as the words meandered out of his mouth. “Let me get this straight.” He looked down at the parrot on his left, dwarfed by himself and the panda. “This little bird says that the carpenter over there made his eyes work again?” The parrot nodded. “And,” continued the panda, “he says that the carpenter did this on the special day.” The parrot nodded. “And, in the name of The Creator?” The parrot nodded. “And,” he addressed the parrot directly, “you can see now?” The parrot nodded. “Oh,” said the panda as he chewed on his bamboo thoughtfully, “I guess, I’ll need to think about that.”
The skunk shook his head violently, effing and blinding under his breath. “WHAT do you need to think about?” screeched the little animal as he looked up at the panda. “This is as clear as night and day. Does The Creator give us permission to work on the special day? Does He? Simple question, everybody! Does He? No, He does not! So, to claim that The Creator is at work healing this bird on the special day is completely illogical. It defies belief that you can even say you need to think about this! How can you be so blind? My vote says that The Creator does not work like this.” The skunk scrawled a huge “NO” on his piece of bark and slammed it into the box.
The carpenter carried on whittling his stick without looking up at the skunk as he ranted. The man, perched on his tree stump, did however raise an eyebrow at the idea that The Creator could not be at work on the special day. While he continued trimming strips of wood from the project in his hands, he heard the parrot join in the conversation and listened in.
“If you’ll excuse me, I know you find this hard to believe but I was blind and now I can see.” The parrot paused, instantly regretting speaking up, as every face in the circle snapped its attention onto him. “Its just I can now see, that’s all.”
“We’ve known each other a long time,” interjected the tapir. “I can’t deny that something incredible has happened. I was there when the carpenter brought your eyes to life. I witnessed it all. I can vouch for your blindness and clearly you can see now. However, are you really telling us you believe that man over there has done this in the name of The Creator. My friend, that is preposterous. You can’t reconcile the idea that a man who breaks the rules, who breaks one of the great laws can claim to access the power that spoke all this into existence. That is simply not possible. The Creator has no time for men as depraved as him.” The tapir spoke as he wrote on his piece of bark, “No man who breaks the rules can claim to be of The Creator.”
The wise old badger had been listening to everything that had been said. She believed firmly that you listen before you speak but felt she had heard enough to now share her thoughts. She leaned forward and coughed, clearing her throat. “Parrot, the tapir confirms your story. I can believe what you say happened did indeed happen.” The polar bear let out an enraged laugh and shook his head. The badger held up a paw to let the polar bear know that now was not the time for such outbursts. “My issue is that this man claims to do this in the name of The Creator,” continued the badger, “I have seen many miraculous things in my long life, nothing quite like this, to but honest, but many things none the less and not all of them come from goodness. There are many dark arts at play in this world of ours, my little friend. Do you believe this man’s claims that it was The Creator’s power which brought sight to your eyes?” she asked with kindness in her eyes. “My question is who do you say he is? Give glory to The Creator with your answer young man.”
The parrot knew the wise old badger was offering him the opportunity to step away from the argument by denying what the carpenter had done. He looked around the circle slowly. Opening his beak, he spoke concisely but clearly, “He speaks on behalf of The Creator.”
With venom in his voice, the polar bear barked, “What has this man done to you? What trickery has he put upon you”
“What has he done to me? He healed my sight, sir. Why do you ask? Do you need healed too?” replied the parrot.
The zebra interjected, “You watch your words. You watch your words I tell you! I see what lies are in your heart. I see it all, you fool.”
“You mean to tell me that something outside the power of The Creator could instantly bring sight to one born blind? You believe there is a power on par with His strength? And, you call me a fool, sir?” replied the parrot. “With all due respect to every one of you, I believe there is only one explanation. If this man was not here on behalf of The Creator then he could not do what he has done. Therefore, if he has done this then he must be from The Creator. How can you not see that?”
“But…but…but…he broke the law. The Creator gave us the law,” the penguin stammered his way into the conversation. “We must keep a day for Him and this carpenter hasn’t kept that day. He healed you on the special day. He is a bad man. The Creator is not like that. The Creator is good. He is good I tell you.”
The polar bear roared ferociously as the raccoon jumped up and down shouting, “He’s a bad man. I swear blind, he is a bad man!”
The badger held her paw up again but her authority had been lost. Every animal was screaming their thoughts in blind rage, trying to be heard above one another.
That is, except the parrot. He was not screaming. He looked at the carpenter who caught his eye with a playful smile. The carpenter looked back at his stick and smoothed off a final section. He admired the fine point he had made and looked back up at the parrot. They shared a look of understanding and the parrot stepped back from the circle. He spread his colourful wings and took off.
He left the clearing full of squabbling animals behind and rose high above the forest. Their arguments about who The Creator is were drowned out as the wind took him higher. Instead the noise that filled his eyes was the sight of the conversation between the expansive forest, the distant mountains, the ebbing rivers, the oceans that filled the horizon and the knowledge that the voice that commanded this was the same that had whispered sight back into his eyes. The parrot could see who The Creator was.
This blog post was brought to you by....Oli Higham
Oli Higham is part of the leadership team at the Rock Community Church. He finds it hard to sum himself up in a few sentences. However he loves Jesus and is also rather fond of his family, films, coffee, rugby, Arsenal FC, poetry, spray paint, beards, cooking and laughing.