18 June 2011

A dove comes to church

During the vespers service last Pentecost Sunday, a pigeon flew down into the middle of the 'high church' area where we were sitting. And I couldn't help but smile - since in Dutch the word for pigeon and dove is the same word: duif. You have white ones and gray ones. The gray ones (pigeons) are the annoying birds that the tourists feed. The white ones are the gentle, beautiful birds that we associate with the Holy Spirit.

So what do I make of the fact that a gray dove (a pigeon) came to church? Simply said, it somehow got in and was happily enjoying the leftovers of Communion during the service. But the mere fact that it was Pentecost Sunday made the link between this pigeon and the Spirit simple to make. And I was delighted to be reminded that the Spirit would come down amongst us, albeit not always in the most expected forms.

And alongside of the reminder of the winsomeness of the Spirit, it was also a reminder of the steadfastness of the Spirit: like the pigeon that presented a challenge to those who tried after the service to shoo it out, the Spirit is also [thankfully] not so easily gotten rid of - even when arriving unannounced and not in the way we expect.

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