A skyful of peace
“Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests?”
Isaiah 60:8 (NIV)
A few minutes’ walk up the main road close to where I live is Haven Farm. Some sort of agriculture has been practised there for about 600 years. But farmers have had to diversify in recent years. So as some of their barns became redundant the family transformed them into a coffee shop, an ice cream parlour, and an agricultural museum full of ancient implements; they opened the woods in spring to stunning bluebell walks, and changed the name of the farm to Heaven Farm.
At the top of one of the largest barns there is a dovecote with a large flock of doves. If I look out of my front window, across the fields over the road, in the morning I am treated to a display as they do their morning exercises, as Isaiah observed: flying like clouds in a circuit. Round and round they go together, have a rest on the roofs, and then off they go again, swirling through the sky.
The Bible has many dove references. Starting at Noah, the dove has turned out to be a very handy bird, making appearances all through the Bible as a picture of peace, hope, beauty, defencelessness, mourning, moaning, innocence and, on occasion, even silliness. And, of course, the Holy Spirit was seen as a dove when he descended on Jesus at his baptism.
It’s the symbolic thought behind its first appearance that has become predominant in Christianity. It pictured peace and hope when the dove brought back an olive leaf to Noah, indicating that the flood waters had gone and new life was springing up. Now combine that image with the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus as a dove, at his baptism, and we have a powerful picture of representation of God’s peace to us. For it is through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that the peace of God comes to us and hope of our new life.
So, as I watch the doves of Heaven Farm circling round, I see symbols of the Holy Spirit bringing peace, and I see Jesus’ commitment to the will of God: to live the sacrificial life of his baptism to bring us peace and reconciliation, and an everlasting relationship with God.
We thank you, our Father, for creating the beauty of the little white dove, but most of all, for what it pictures, the peace you have given us in Christ Jesus, and the hope of a future with you. Amen.
Study by Hilary Buck
About the writer:
Hilary Buck is a Minister and pastors the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.
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