Merlin falcons and fish crows are natural enemies. A similar drama has played out over the town of Wellsboro for at least the past three years. Fish crows build a nest. Merlin falcons attempt to steal the nest (typically constructed near the top of a tall pine tree) and without fail a drama ensues. Some years it seems that the pressure each of these species places on the other is so great that neither experiences nesting success; but sometimes a balance is able to be struck.
While from the perspective of the crows, life would seem better without merlins, and from the perspective of the merlins life would seem better without crows, the truth is that the health of the community of living things in and around Wellsboro is dependent upon the health of every part of it.
To say it another way, a community is only as healthy as its weakest member.
As we seek to live into community with all that has life in Jesus' name we can take a lesson from fish crows and merlins.
Though they are natural enemies, clearly the health of the community of living things is dependent upon the health of both fish crows and merlins. As we consider our human communities, it is equally true that the overall health of our community is dependent upon the well-being of our enemies as well as ourselves.
A challenging truth, which perhaps this illustrates a certain level-headed logic to Jesus' teaching that those of us who wish to be his followers should love our enemies.
Who do you count as your enemies? How will you exercise patience, kindness, and everything else that love is towards them as we seek to live into community with all that has life in Jesus' name?
After all, I believe this with all of my heart and maybe you do too; the best life includes all life.