Michael J Manacci

Since the breath of life was breathed upon Adam, man and nature have had a close relationship. Mankind wasn’t born of nature, yet he has and continues to be an integral part of nature’s social structures. Whether this is for the benefit or the detriment of both parties involved; well, that is yet to be determined. However, it seems that both man and nature have been living side by side for so long that they have begun to mirror each other in mannerisms and traits. One series that showcases this miraculously well is The BBC’s Serengeti. 

When we think of the fauna of sub-Saharan Africa, we often put the apex predator at the top of the food chain: i.e., The African Lion. The Lion is a world-renowned symbol of strength, leadership, and royalty. This status has made him the symbol for kings in heraldry and the national symbol of Great Britain. It is safe to say that his reputation greatly precedes him; he is the king of the jungle after all. Yet behind the mane that holds the crown ever so high lies a sadistic, jealous and bloodthirsty nature. Should the Lioness of his pride break the cardinal rule and have cubs with a male outside of their pride, the males of the pride will abandon the mother and/or try to murder the cubs. All due to the simple fact that the cubs aren’t his. Some human cultures have mirrored that with systems such as feudalism. Even in today’s world, some families can, unfortunately, be this harsh and neglectful to their loved ones who aren’t of their bloodlines. Thankfully, those of us in Christ have a greater heritage than any of earth’s royalty. You, dear reader, are a child of the king of kings.

Another prime example of reputation v. reality is the African Elephant. In Masai mythology, the African Elephant is the embodiment of virtue, wisdom, and strength. Elephant mothers are renowned for their sense of maternal instincts and are second to none in nurturing their young. However, the African Elephant is very fickle with her maternal love, as she has been known to abandon one child into exile while she tends to her newborn without hesitation. As for the elder sibling’s future, they are on her own. Given these facts, it should be apparent that some human mothers and fathers can neglect their older children and focus all their attention on younger siblings. But we serve a Savior that is a Father to the fatherless, a champion to orphans and widows alike. Those who have no parents can find the love, acceptance, and warmth they so desperately crave in Christ Jesus.

Still, there exists an animal that is the polar opposite on the spectrum. This animal is by no means a being well respected. It holds no weight amongst its contemporaries, let alone the realms of mankind. The others hate this animal in the Serengeti, so much so that its young are at risk of being murdered for no apparent reason. Yet strangely, it has the strongest family ties, loyalty to its own, and matriarchal-based leadership. Who I am speaking about, of course, is the hyena. More often than not, the hyena is portrayed as the thief, the scoundrel, and the hoodlum in storytelling and in human collective thinking. But, like most things in life, what is perceived about us as individuals, is nothing more than mere stereotypes. In truth, the hyena, in its own way, is an honorable creature that is probably, in my personal opinion,  one of the best examples of what a family is supposed to be. The hyena clan’s leadership is centered around the queen, who puts the clan before everything else. So much so to the point that the queen will literally lay in the path of charging lions and give her life for the lions to eat her so her children can escape.

Much in this same way, Christ laid down his life, took on all of the sins of humanity that were, are, and what will be, and died. He did this as a mortal on Calvary so that we could live a new life, redeemed for our shortcomings, our faults, and our mistakes. The Bible says in 1 John 2:2 “and He is the proportion for our sins, and not for our only, but also the proportion of the whole world.” There is no sin that will nullify what Christ did for you and me. Your debt has been paid in the shedding of his Blood. You are free!