We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Romans 8: 22-24.
Richmond residents were thrilled this month when two eaglets joined their nesting parents 80 feet up a loblolly pine along the James River, according to a recent Associated Press story. Then the larger eaglet began an unrelenting pecking attack on its smaller sibling.
The wildlife drama has been playing out in cringing detail over several weeks, available for all the world to watch via a web camera positioned about 8 feet above the nest, streaming live video of the older sibling's attacks on the cowering smaller eaglet.
The eaglet has opened a wound on its fellow chick's downy back, leaving viewers to wonder: will it live?
Barbara Eck said she and her husband, Gary, have watched the video every day since it began in mid-January. She still watches, sometimes with her 6-month-old granddaughter, but was shocked by what she saw after the eaglets emerged from their eggs.
"Terror, just terror," she said. "I never thought they would be like that. I thought they'd be cute, fuzzy babies."
Part of the reason it's hard to watch is that we might well ask the same question-will it live?-of ourselves. There are moments of reprieve, but life in a fallen world, even in a society as safe and secure as ours, is defined less by cute, fuzzy babies than by violence and conflict.
The AP news story goes on to explain that such aggressive behavior is uncommon among eaglets, perhaps the result of a food shortage. The smaller eaglet is likely to live, but still--was all this really necessary?
The short answer is, yes, it is necessary. We groan and creation groans right along with us, proving that we are waiting--gaping and bewildered--for something more: the restoration of Creation, our adoption as sons, and the redemption of our bodies.
These things are coming only because Christ died for our sins. Every Good Friday we watch again as His brothers pecked and tore at him with thorns and whips, and then nailed him to a cross where all could see.
Three days later His spirit returned and he stepped out of the grave--but that's getting ahead of the story. Tomorrow we focus on the sacrifice. Instead of a web cam we'll open the Gospels, but it will still be far more real than anything streamed over the internet.
This article first appeared on WORLD Virginia.