The Duck-Billed Platypus: The Symbol of the Church
© 2013 The Reverend Ron Cox

duck-billed-platypus-newington-united-methodist-churchThere is a story told that when God had finished creating all the animals, he looked around and noticed several extra parts on his worktable.  He knew that every animal created was perfect, yet he wondered what to do with all these extra parts.

He laid them all out and began assembling them.

To his dismay, by the next day he was still perplexed as to how to complete the task at hand.

For the next week, God assembled and reassembled the mismatched pieces until, at the end of the week, He unveiled the oddest looking creature you could ever imagine.

He presented the animal to Adam for naming.  Unfortunately, God was greeted with laughter and disdain.

Adam exclaimed, “What is this creature you have brought before me to name?”

God replied, “This is one of my greatest creations and I wish for you to thoughtfully consider a name.”

Adam looked at this creature and was perplexed by how strange it looked.

He decided to bring all the other animals together to seek their advice.

As the animals gathered, the began to argue as to which group she belonged.

The birds thought she belonged to their group because she had webbed feet, a bill, and laid eggs.

The reptiles thought she was one of their own.  Even though she laid eggs, she certainly wasn’t a bird because she didn’t have wings.

The mammals disagreed.  They believed she belonged to their group because she was warm-blooded, had fur and suckled her young.

The fish said that she must be a fish because she swam and found her food in water.

The beavers spoke up and said this creature must be from their family because she had a beaver’s tail.

The marsupials were the last to disagree.  The said that because she cared for her young in a pouch, she must belong to their group.

Adam turned to God and said, “It is my judgement that you have made a mistake with this one.  What did you say that this is one of your greatest creations?”

God replied, “Because this creature will represent my greatest creation of all.  In the great and distant future, there will be people of all colors, sizes, and shapes, from all nations and cultures, male and female, young and old, healthy and ill, happy and sad, as different from each other as the night is different from the day-and the will be bound together by my Spirit and I will call them, ‘The Church’.”

With that all the animals cheered and said, “Then let this animal be called, ‘The Great One’.”

The little mismatched animal lifted her head and said, “I am not the great one.  You who made me are the great one.  If it please you, Sir, let me be called a Duck-Billed Platypus.”

God said to his final and greatest creation, “So be it.”  He continued, “And some day when my church forgets what it should look like, they will look at you and celebrate that it is in our differences we are special and strong and blessed.”

duck-billed-platypus_symbol_of_the_churchAfter the telling of this story, Pastor Ron gives church visitors a pin of a Duck-Billed Platypus and says to them:

If you have a relationship with God, I encourage you to wear this pin and when asked why you do,  share this small story which attempts to remind us that the church was designed to be a people of diversity joined together by one spirit.

If you do not have a relationship with God, I encourage you to wear this pin as a way of reminding yourself that you have been created.  And just maybe, you were created by God.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.  Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.  1 Corinthians 12:12-14

  • If you presently do not attend church…I would encourage you to start.
  • If you belong to a church but have not been there in a while…I would encourage you to go back.
  • If you have no church home…I would encourage you to make the Newington United Methodist Church your church home.
    duck-billed-platypus_image_symbol_of_the_churchThe pin is handcrafted in fine pewter.

If you would like a copy of this as a PDF, please click this link the-symbol-of-the-church