Whenever a rare bird shows up around Cape May, it can expect its privacy to be invaded within minutes of its discovery.
Like a well-oiled machine, instant communication devices alert birders of these avian anomalies with a speed unimaginable.
I am often the benefactor of these high-tech reports, and when I heard of a Eurasian Collared-Dove nearby, I wasted no time in jumping in my car and following the precise directions to the location of interest.
On the way over, I formulated a mental picture of the bird so I could have a head start on finding it. I imagined myself standing there, like a ninny, in front of the houses of Cape May Point, helplessly scanning the telephone wires. You never know how rare birds will act; they're rare, they have free reign to act however they feel fit.
I slowly coasted up to the address, and quietly got out of my car. In synchronization with my body leaving my driver's seat, the bird non-nonchalantly flew up on a wire, staring at me as if I had been late for some long-standing appointment.
You never know how rare birds will act, I noted, sardonically.
But before I could finish my thought, the unexpected happened. My car door slipped from my grip, causing a loud bang to echo through the vinyl canyons of Cape May Point.
Ahh!, I grunted, shamed at my lack of discipline, and expecting the worst.
But it was no matter to my long-lost friend. He simply stretched his neck and preened a few feathers.
That didn't startle you, did it? And if doves understand rhetorical questions, I imagine he found it very profound.
If my lack of vigilance didn't scare this bird from his roost, the BMW roaring down the street surely would.
I leaped behind my car to avoid being a fatality of such a nice vehicle. The man continued to talk on his phone, completely unaware that he was doing well above the speed limit.
Once past, I rose from behind my shelter, only to be serenely greeted by my European visitor yet again.
You're made of sterner stuff than I, my friend. If doves understand compliments, I'm sure his ego must have swelled a little.
After a few more moments of observation, I got in my car and left the Arnold Schwarzenegger of doves behind. As I drove off along the tourist stocked streets, I thought of the importance of doves in Biblical literature.
They acted as assurances of floods gone by.
They were an integral element of the romance between King Solomon and his beloved.
They were a picture of innocence to our Lord.
But perhaps most importantly, we're told at the beginning of Christ's ministry, the Holy Spirit was sent to Him in "like a dove." This picture of the peaceful power of the Holy Ghost has been a familiar visual to the saved and unsaved alike. Whether it's used as an emblem for the Quakers or a Calvary Chapel, the impact the picture of the dove has had on Christianity is profound.
I need that Dove in my life; I need the Holy Spirit more than bread, more than water.
I find a life invaded by the Holy Spirit is just like that dove on the wire; no matter how many "door slams" life throws at me, I can sit in perfect peace.
I also find that encounters with the Holy Ghost are predictable; He's available to meet with me whenever I choose to seek him. Like the dove greeting me like a long lost friend, a search for this Helper is always fruitful.
I couldn't imagine winning any battles without this crucial comforter. It's with his help the Word of God leaps off the page and cuts straight through my heart. It's his coming along side that takes the fleshly tendencies that were once so dominant, and keeps them far away from my mind. It's his gentle leading that shepherds me along this earthly pilgrimage.
I remember once chatting with a friend, when a white dove flew by, probably released from a wedding. This apparently prompted some long lost religious memory, as he quickly asked, What's the point of the Holy Spirit? From all I remember, all he did was put tongues of fire on people's heads.
I shrugged my shoulders, knowing a sufficient explanation would be lost on my friend. That knowledge can only be attained empirically.
That information can only be known by those who have had an experience with God's Comforter.
I'm sharing this with Spiritual Sundays and Brag on God Fridays.