Orientals would have a use for those two sparrows sold for a penny. They'd use them in a ceremony honoring their ancestors. We should do more in honoring the people who gave us our genes.

Saturday, 7/9/11

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny, yet not one of them falls to the ground without your father’s knowledge.”

For me that brings back a memory of a long day I spent standing up on a bus in Korea. Jostled back and forth, my glance kept falling on a strange little seated gentleman. He was dressed in a suit that included a vest, with the whole of it having been carefully cut and tailored out of army blankets. What was most interesting about him was what he was holding out in front of him. It was a pair of sparrows with a straw threaded through their little nostrils.

I knew where those sparrows were going, because I had seen that kind of thing before. They were going to some extended family for the annual ceremony they held to honor their departed. The sparrows and other rare and precious things were laid out overnight. The belief was that their ancestors would feed on the essence of the goodies, while leaving them seemingly untouched.

Such reverence for departed family members was an admirable thing among most Orientals. In many homes in which the only other piece of furniture was a nail for hanging up a coat you would find a small cornered shelf holding a plaque with the carved names of remembered ancestors.

Perhaps we should do more about remembering those who gave us our genes.

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