Thursday, April 14, 2016

Descending like a dove....

I had never seen a nesting dove, but the tall shrub outside the kitchen window held the nest, an in that nest were two newborn doves. Ugly things, but still stimulating the fascination of seeing something for the first time. That fascination led me to Google so I could learn more about the nesting habits of the species. 

I learned the mother and father doves alternate responsibilities of sitting on the nest, usually the male in the daylight hours, and the female in the nighttime hours. I also learned the female will usually lay two eggs. When those are hatched and leave the nest, there can be other eggs laid, up to five times in the season. Somewhere I had heard the dove nests further north where it's cooler, and by the time they migrate to the southernmost part of state, they will have already hatched and raised their young for the year. If Google is right, then my former information was wrong. 

I just know I could now view the process of hatched birds, and especially watch the "parent-in-charge" feed and train their young to maturity.  When I looked at them today, the young birds were stretching their wings and giving me a glimpse of their feather growth which has increased a lot over the past few days. Soon they will be flying and on their own. 

The dove is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, even  to the point of being associated with spiritual matters, namely the Holy Spirit. Look at Matthew 3:16. " And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him."

In our day when images and symbols are everywhere, the dove seems to be synonymous with the Holy Spirit.  Maybe that is what made me think of the nesting dove I saw, as a symbol of blessing, a sign of God's presence, the proof of God's power. But there was more.

I mentioned seeing the parent dove over a period of several days, and noticing the growth and maturity of the young. There was obvious physical development which was the expected thing to see. Another thing I saw was the parent dove, teaching and training its young until they were able to take care of themselves. I thought for a moment, that's just the way the Holy Spirit works with us. Coming with the gentleness of a dove, the Spirit of God gains entry and makes its residence in our lives. That is not an experience that happens once, and the deed is completed. 

Just like the young doves in the nest, that need the presence and help of the dove which gave them life, to grow and mature, we, too, need the continuing presence of the Spirit which lives in us, to guide us, lead us, train us, assure us, and even grow in us, as we mature. This is God using his power to bring us to be the people we should be. 


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