It was wedged between the tire and the cold fieldstone of the garage, just beneath the forsythia. Woven in layered twigs and dried grass, colored coordinated and masterfully intact, its integrity and comfort speak of home, the kind of home everyone needs. It is loose and structured, simple and stable, inviting and purposeful. Maybe that empty nest is the promise of next steps, of growth and movement and flight. On this Fifth Sunday of Easter, what could be more appropriate?

This week, the readings celebrate the emergence of faith, of lives changed and reconstructed in the light of faith. The first reading shows Saul after his conversion. He has left one life behind for another. But here, he is grappling with acceptance as a disciple, dealing with the fear he had inspired in others. Trusted Barnabus provides the introduction that made a difference. The connections are woven as carefully as the bird’s nest. That reading is followed by the plucky courage of the first letter of John exhorting,

“Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.”

Here is a challenge to go past the typical, to dare to live deeply, to let actions be defining and truth be guiding. In a sense, this is the challene to build our own nests even in a world so complex and unforgiving. Could this be about creating “home” in a world made less than hospitable by the rigor of media? Could it be about deliberate action to construct a “home” of what is here, available, usable? Can we re-envison home, society, world? Dare we look at the post-pandemic era as one with all the necessary components to reconstruct meaningful homes and lifestyles? Can we reconnect? Dare we be as trusting as the birds in our creations?

The Gospel is allegorcial and poetic, charged with connections in the Vine and Branches story.

I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.

Dignity, fulfillment, worth, rest in the reality of Connection. It is about branches and being and making the choices that fashion something rich and fruitful, opening possibilities for others. Without each other, we are each less than could be. With each other, we forge a life-giving force that protects, comforts, serves and regenerates.

In a world edging towards a post-pandemic pattern, conscious reconstruction of lifestyles, serious consideration of choices is possible, if not probable. The shift represents a chance to re-shape the homes we have built and live in and to re-consider the many choices we have made. The threads of new beginnings can allow a freedom to become better persons and to show the commitment to that future by the practical simplicaity of deeds. Mere words cannot be enough: this is the time for action. The nests we create now, at work and at home, can bear the variegated texture of that cradle. Those nests, our nests, can find shape, provide both cushion and comfort, and provide the space that nurtures next steps and ultimately leads to flight.

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