Late one evening as I was leaving my upstairs retreat room, I noticed a white dove had settled on the windowsill outside. I wondered at its beauty and purity and considered whether or not it was in distress.
The following morning it was still there so I considered offering food and water. However, it took off, presumably refreshed from a nights shelter; the weather was inclement after all.
On considering this I felt honoured by this 'visit' and was immediately reminded that a dove is the symbol of peace. Had God sent me encouragement for this time of being a peacemaker I wondered?
Whenever I have a Spiritual picture my first consideration is to look to the Scriptures for insight.
Leviticus 1:14-17 “‘If the offering to the Lord is a burnt offering of birds, you are to offer a dove or a young pigeon. The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. He is to remove the crop and the feathers and throw them down east of the altar where the ashes are. He shall tear it open by the wings, not dividing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is burning on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord."
This is such a beautiful picture of the purity that was Christ in His sacrifice for us; such broken beauty.
Psalm 55:4-8 ’My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”
No matter what life might throw at us, we need not fear or flea the storm if we stand firm on the solid rock that is Christ. He will enable us to withstand all. Some of you will be aware that I have been painting about this recently.
'Standing On Rock'
Song of Solomon 6:9 ’But my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The young women saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.’
Once again the reference is to beauty and purity. It was the purity of the dove that attracted me to it. The white was spotless.
Isaiah 38:14-20 ’I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!” But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord.’
I love this description of the anguished soul and the appreciation of the Fathers love.
And finally I remembered the dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Pure, beautiful, gentle. Easily it will fly away if disturbed?
I pondered on the possibility that God was reminding me that He has given me the Holy Spirit to comfort and equip me through the current difficult journey. I think so.
After a while I began to imagine that I had seen a dove on my windowsill as the experience was so unreal, but there outside on the sill was a ’deposit’- just a little something the dove had left behind as proof! Now not wanting to overdo metaphors I was going to omit this part of the story, but it stayed with me and tickled me somewhat. Then a friend (unrelated) sent me this scripture for encouragement:
"Now it is God... who anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV
The New Living Translation puts it: '... placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.' Wow.
Now, whenever we put a deposit on something, it generally means we mean business; we intend to see it through to the very end. After the resurrection, Jesus left us to be with the Father but not before he had left a deposit - the Holy Spirit, and God will indeed see this thing through right to the end. How wonderful a truth this is.
I hope you have enjoyed my journey through the scriptures relating to this beautiful bird.
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