If you want to see them you will have to have keen eyesight. Once they were so numerous you literally ran into them unknowingly. Now, they are nearly non-existent and experts predict that within the next month they will be completely wiped out, gone from the valley. Yes, the migration of Great Eastern and Northern Snow Birds has begun the long journey back to their respective summer dwellings.
It was only a few months ago that they filled streets and aisle of every store. They filled the valley with energy and excitement, but now most have departed. Those who remain nervously look at the thermometer wondering if one can really survive temperatures over 100 degrees! Soon they will be gone too...and we will miss them. We will miss their warm smiles, the various regional accents, and the enthusiasm that they generate.
We know that they will return beginning next fall and winter. Once again the streets will be filled with a rainbow of different colored license plates. Friendships will be renewed and new ones will be forged. In the meantime, many miles and time zones will separate us. Yet, there is something that connects us to our friends that spend the summer months in other parts of the country. We will keep up with each other’s lives via e-mail, Facebook, and perhaps an occasional call. Even if we don't communicate through the summer there is still a connection, that is how it is with friends and relationships. Geography cannot define or destroy meaningful relationships. We have a connection.
For Christians this connection is even stronger. The Apostle Paul wrote: “so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” (Romans 12:5) The connection is a unique one that is different than friends or families, although we would describe ourselves as the family of God. The faith that Christians share connects them to one another. In my experience this connection transcends gender, race, language, and geography. I have had the privilege of meeting Christians in Uganda, Japan, Israel, Canada, and the Dominican Republic. Having never met before there was an instant connection in Christ with the people in each of these countries. Jesus binds us together in an unmistakable way and we are better together than we are apart.
In the same way whether you are a year round resident or part of the year we all have a bond in our love for the valley of the sun. I pray that you also know a deeper bond and have a love for the fellowship of those who love the Son.