Throughout the day there are scattered individual and small groups of black birds in my neighborhood. In the evening hundreds of them gather and head off to the southwest. While traveling together it is unlikely a hawk will make a run at them. Because of my travels I see their overnight destination. Lodged in trees above a swampy area, it has likely been picked for its safety from predators.
In the morning, just around sunrise, they leave their haven and head for someplace along the flight path they took last night. Again, they scatter into singles and small groups to go about their daily tasks of scouring the neighborhood for food.
If you looked at the history of this flock, you would know it is populated with young crows and old crows. Typically, these birds live between seven and twenty-five years. The new ones may not have been in the flock even seven months; the old ones have perhaps been members for decades. The knowledge of where to go at dusk for safety and where to go at dawn is not just an individual decision for the leader. It is a group intelligence and experience. There may not even be a specific leader.
When a crow breaks away from the flock, it becomes a target for predators. It also loses the sense of community and the wisdom of group learning. My friend Harry is a genius about this sense. When he is faced with a challenge in life, he calls on three experts or three friends and asks what they think about the situation. Harry makes his own decision, but he makes better ones with the congregate knowledge he gathers.
When we assemble in church, we are strengthened by the prayers, fellowship, and study in which we engage as a group. In Hebrews it says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” Although these have been a couple of difficult years to get together, we should continue as we have in the past. When one is sick, he or she stays in the “nest.” When one is well, he or she joins with others to worship, pray, and learn. Predators are less likely to go up against the group, and the group can assist if they do. By this I mean, predators of every type.
Sharing the evidence of our temptations with fellow believers helps them to help us resist. The opinions of the group sway us from the evils that make a single individual an easier target. The great pool of Biblical knowledge and teaching shared by the pastors is a blessing. Regrouping in this “roost” gives us rest and strength to head out into the world for the week ahead.