I was hoping for a different story, a different ending. This morning I picked up two tiny bloodied mangled baby doves hatched several weeks ago. Possibly they somehow fell in the night or the early morning. I wrapped them in napkins and some yellow tissue paper and buried them under my white dogwood tree.
When I finished the two parent mourning doves still stood confused on my air conditioner where they built their nest, where they laid their eggs and fed their hatchlings; where we watched with wonder as they cared for the birds. I wrote about them earlier, in March, “Mourning doves and the Church.
I wrote that the church sat in a precarious position like the doves, but that God still keeps her in the midst of weakness and suffering. Every so often I hear the mourning coos outside my window or in nearby trees. I do not know if they will stay and try again. I do know that they return every spring and build a nest somewhere near. They will build another year.
Like doves experiencing a loss they do not yet fully comprehend, everywhere the orthodox of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) now gather,they speak of sadness and the future. In their own particular place and time they hoped for a different story, a different ending. But they have a very certain hope. A promise! The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church.
There will always be a church that comes under the Lordship of Jesus Christ; that holds to the essentials of the faith, the apostolic teaching. There will always be the faithful who trust in his goodness and righteousness, not their own. There may be blood on the ground as there is on my driveway and in my garden but there is peace because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. There is joy because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. There is nourishment and safety in our union with the resurrected Lord.