Meet Rio, the Meyer’s Parrot. Back in 2018, he decided to join my family when he flew into my parents’ front yard and was welcomed in. Unlike other parrots, Meyer’s parrots do not talk. Instead, they are fabulous imitators. An imitator repeats or copies the behaviors or actions of others. Rio repeats household sounds. He can imitate the sound of the microwave, the house alarm, kisses, squeaky doors, beeps, fake laughs, and clicks.
Here’s an interesting fact about parrots. There’s a phenomenon among pet parrots often called the “one-person bird.” That means that parrots bond closely to one person in the household and may shun the rest, even becoming aggressive to anyone who isn’t “their” person.
The “one-person bird” phenomenon is especially true with Rio. He initially bonded with my sister and preferred her over the rest of us. Whenever I was around, I was NOT “his person”. He would snap at me when I tried to pick him up and even bit me several times.
Rio was happy with his best friend, and then came October 2021. My sister got married and moved away. Rio’s pecking order had to change, and my dad became his new best friend. Then came January 2022. My dad got sick and had to stay in the hospital. Again, his favorite person was gone.
That left me. His third favorite person. I was the next in line. Sure enough, he chose me as his new favorite friend! Since then, I’ve been spending a lot more time with Rio. He lets me hold him, scratch his head, and loves to sit on my shoulder. He doesn’t even try to bite me anymore. It’s great being Rio’s new best friend, but guess what, when my sister comes back to visit, Rio will choose her again and I will be cast aside.
Isn’t it great that God isn’t like a parrot? He doesn’t just choose one person to love. He loves us all. God doesn’t change his mind about his love for you, his precious child.
However, we certainly don’t deserve this unconditional love. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” We are sinners. We lie, say unkind things, disobey, and hurt others. Yet we know from Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
By God’s grace, He sent his Son to die on the cross for ALL people. Then, Jesus rose so that through faith, we could have life in Heaven one day. Jesus says in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”
Our response to being God’s chosen child is to love others as Christ loved us. Love is the fruit that we bear. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” During His life on earth, Jesus cared for the poor, He healed the blind, He welcomed little children, and hung out with sinners. He was the ultimate example of love.
Just like a parrot imitates sounds, we too should strive to imitate our Savior’s great example of love for others, whether it’s in your classroom, on the soccer field, or the school pick up line. In the good times and tough times, let Jesus’ love shine through you.
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, You sent Jesus to save us from sin, death, and Satan. Strengthen us as we follow Jesus on the way of the cross, that we may daily die to sin and daily rise as new creations. Thank you for your steadfast love for us that we do not deserve. Help us to be imitators of your example of love. Amen.
Stefanie Hinrichs, Teacher, Bethany Lutheran School, Long Beach, CA