A Hawkish Shepherding Metaphor
This morning I was reflecting on what a good time of prayer and Bible reading I had. It shaped my mood and freed me to love my kids well as we prepared for the day.
Then, as I made lunches for the little ones, a hawk lands on our patio outside the kitchen window with a Eurasian Ringed Dove in its talons.
You expect our hawks to be after vermin, the mice and rats going from the fields to the fruit trees. But here a hawk decided on a heartier meal for the morning. Perhaps the dove was hunted because it was sick and already weak, already vulnerable to attack.
I made eye contact with the hawk (its a thing) as I yelled through the window for it go away, essentially saying “not today hawk! Not it my yard!” Quickly then I ran outside and came upon not only the hawk but two crows vying for the dove. They fled at my presence and the dove shook off the attack and flew ten feet to our fence. There he rested but we noticed that blood was dripping on the fence and ground. He was wounded and losing a lot of blood for a small bird.
Now I know this won’t land me any invites to hunting trips but you have to know that I prayed for the bird, very specifically that Jesus would stop the bleeding. I attempted my best Dr. Doolittle voice and told the dove he was welcome to stay and rest as long as he needed.
He stayed on that fence for well over thirty minutes... as the hawk stayed in a nearby tree waiting... hoping for another chance at the prize. Our family left for school out of the front door as to not disturb the dove and we prayed and hoped for the best.
When I returned from walking to school the dove was gone from the fence but the evidence of the ordeal remained. I think he was on the power line across the street, hopefully gaining strength. He will still die, someday. But not in my yard, under my “care.”
Thinking of this wild experience I can’t help but think of shepherding in the church. The call to protect one another and specifically how the elders of the church are to keep watch for the hawks and protect the doves. Or wolves and sheep if you prefer.
The key is that we don’t befriend the hawks but get in their way. We stay close enough to the doves that we can proclaim truth where lies fester. Where we can minister with our presence and time. Where we can pray for healing and care for them. Blood may be drawn but we are stubborn to say that no one will die in our yard.
Of course our strength for this work, for the call of shepherding comes from outside of us. Because the good shepherd witnessed the hawk of darkness with talons deep in his prey. But instead of shooing him away to wait for another kill, our shepherd, Jesus gave himself in the place of the doves, in our place. The hawk drove his talons deep, blood was drawn and poured out to death. But that death is a victory. Because the hawk is forever defeated. His talons no longer have power over the flock of Christ.
So on we go, looking out, protecting, restoring and caring for those we are called to in the name and power of Jesus.
Find yourself these kind of shepherds. Join this kind of flock.