Genesis 8, 10th May 2020

Reflection on Genesis 8:1-19
Sunday 10th May 2020

We have a pair of doves in our garden who have spent much of the past few weeks attempting to build a nest on the security light above our front door. This spot is precarious to say the least and so once or twice a week we’ve had to sweep bundles of twigs off the front step as their latest attempt gives way!

I like to think that these doves are full of hope and optimism each time they build a new nest, but I can’t help wonder if they’re just a bit daft!

In the old poem known as “The song of Noah’s Dove”, the anonymous poet tells of the dove flying “forth from Noah’s Ark over the churning wave on the breath of hope”

I love that image of the dove flying out from the Ark on the breath of hope. Circling around, as we heard in our Bible reading, first fruitlessly, then returning with an olive branch and finally finding its own place to settle. The dove soars on the breath of hope, and in turn passes that hope on to the inhabitants of the Ark.

In the summer of 1945, following the long-hoped-for VE Day, the nations of the world, realising that the peace that they had fought so hard for must be protected, came together to sign the United Nations Charter in which they pledged to continue working together to maintain peace and security across the whole world.

Delegates at that original conference were presented with pin badges displaying a world map surrounded by olive branches which remains the logo of the United Nations to this day. Those olive branches were, and are, a sign of peace, a reminder of the branch that Noah’s dove carried “over the churning wave on the breath of hope”. Working for peace is always a hopeful endeavour.

I wonder if, in our current situation, we might find hope in that image. Hope that, although we may still be confined for a while, the waters will subside. Hope that, although there are dark days ahead, we will make it through this together.

So if you are struggling at the moment, if you are feeling the strain as the lockdown drags on, look to the dove, soaring over the churning wave on the breath of hope, bringing with it God’s promise of peace.

But don’t look to the doves above the Rectory door – I don’t think they know what they’re doing!


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