Though I’m still no bird expert, I certainly am more bird-aware after our ten weeks of considering the pigeon, pelican, quail, vulture, eagle, ostrich, sparrow, rooster, hen, and today, the raven. Saturday I was outside and when I looked far, far above me there was a flock of some birds soaring and circling in the blue sky. I don’t think a dance choreographer could have done any better.
The chapter on the raven was one of the shortest and I wonder if, in part, it is because the theme of failure and trust is a story we are so familiar with we don’t need as many words. Eden could be summarized as “the beginning of the dance between trust and failure.”
The following stood out to me as I read this chapter:
1. That the Hebrew for “raven” involves the word “mixture” — I hadn’t known that ravens have two signs of kosher birds and two signs of nonkosher birds.
2. A raven is capable of “listening intently” to guitars for two hours?! What? I can tell you that I am not capable of listening to guitars intently for that long.
3. In scripture, ravens are called an “abomination” in one place and used to feed Elijah in another. “What is condemned one place in the text is redeemed in another.” Ah, I think the takeaway may be: Don’t have firm categories for what is good or bad (not talking sin here); instead, be willing to step into the messy story and figure out what is means HERE in THIS context.
4. This week the theme is “content.” In light of American Thanksgiving (and for those of you who aren’t American, harvest holidays in your country), we pause this week and take our contentment temperature. Am I content in relationships? in my purpose? in my calling? Am I content emotionally, spiritually, physically, and intellectually?
If so, thank God! If not, it is a chance to commune with Him and explore what He is saying to you in this season.
Blue spoke directly to the heart of contentment: “It’s one thing to believe God feeds the little pretty birds of the air. They have small appetites. They need a few seeds. Everybody loves them. It’s not that much to feed. They do not seem too needy. But what if your’e ravenous?
“Is the hope that God will feed you as long as you’re not that hungry, as long as you don’t need that much? God will feed you, sure—if you have the appetite of a little dove, as long as all you need is seeds, dry little seeds? The hope is not so proscribed.
“God feeds the ravens, the ravenous, the mixed-up greedy glutton carrion eater. That’s saying a lot more, somehow—something more shocking maybe, than that God’s willing to give bird feed to light eaters.”
She goes on to say how much we need . . . of food and attention and love and healing.
So, when we look this week at being content, another way to say it is “are you being fed?” Are you relationally, spiritually, in all the ways, being fed? And if you feel like you’re “eating” more than others, do not look to your fellow birds (be they family members, teammates, or locals), look to God. Look to God and don’t be afraid to explore with Him where your hunger may lead you.
Now we near the end of another book. In the study Caitlin, Emily, and I wrote (found here), todays’ study this passage from Leviticus was explored:
And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, the kite, and the falcon after its kind; every raven after its kind, 16 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl; the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture; the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.
What struck me as I read it was “Wow, we’ve considered many of these birds! and they have more meaning to me now!” But look how many we didn’t even touch on. God and the Bible amaze me. May it always be so.
Looking forward to your thoughts on this book or the raven in particular in the comments.