Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Three significant Christian themes dominate Song of the Sparrow. These are the separation between God and human beings, the spiritual value of service as a way of connecting with God and cooperating with his grace, and trusting in God as a loving and giving father.

Bodo spends much of his book on the existential loneliness we feel and how much we hunger for some concrete awareness of God. “Turn wherever you may, nothing and no one short of God can satisfy your longing or distract you from that gnawing in the mind and heart which speaks of an emptiness that is yet to be filled.”

The autumn woods call to the writer’s mind his existential emptiness: “I walk in the bleak November woods and I want to believe that I am not alone, that this loneliness is illusion only.” We are all too conscious of how empty we are and how much we want God to fill our emptiness: “And so I reach out and call upon God and I am no longer alone.” As Bodo suggests, God is ever-present; part of our problem as human beings is that we will not accept him on his terms. For example, while we expect a thundering voice from the heavens in answer to our prayers, what we receive is a silent stirring in the heart or an unexpected gift from another person.Each one of us, whether he realizes it or not, is a living symbol of the presence of God in the world. By who we are and how we act we can either build up or tear down the Kingdom of God. God has chosen to act through men, first through his son, Jesus, and then through all the members of his Mystical Body. That God is alive and well is most evident in those who live through him and with him and in him.

As Bodo puts it, it is in giving these gifts to each other that we thank God for his grace and indicate our willingness to cooperate in his will for us.