Australian Magpies are user-friendly birds. They are people birds, that is, they make friends easily and because they live in families, you can have a resident family of Magpies for years on end. They will come for scraps of food and will learn to take them from your hand and may even walk happily into your home.

They teach us about peaceful, orderly lives by sharing drinking water and food with others who happen along – Parrots, Sparrows, Wagtails. There are no cultural barriers. They have certain rights and privileges belonging to who they are and as adults they live in harmony with others.

But it is a very different story when they must guard their young and vulnerable. When they have nesting mothers or fledglings, they will fiercely protect their territory and their rights from intruders.

They will launch off into space to attack a potential enemy even while it is still well outside their territory. Hawks and Eagles, their own kind and even we, who have given them bread and water, have no exemption.

Magpies have what we call a ‘duty of care’ for those under their protection. They see their young and vulnerable as worth protecting.

Perhaps the creatures of nature teach us about defending principles and preventing the young and vulnerable from being destroyed.

Perhaps they teach that Jesus is nurturing a way of belief and we need to consider the same ‘duty of care’ towards our young and vulnerable.

Jesus suggested even the ‘kingdoms of this world’ have a duty of care for the defenceless when He said ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest …’ John 13:36.

As servants, let us keep Jesus free to nurture the beliefs of our young and vulnerable.

Elizabeth Price