I woke up this morning mindful of the fact that today, as I write this, it is Good Friday. I had another post ready for my regular Saturday morning post, but I wouldn't feel right about letting this thought go.
If any 'symbolism' comes to mind when we think of a white dove, peace is probably the first one. The white dove has long been considered a symbol of peace. So this post will be a coming together of white doves (what I do), peace (which they symbolize) and Easter (a big part of who I am).
Peace. Where is it? There is a greater hunger than ever for peace in our world, yet it would seem that peace has never been more elusive. There are conflicts between nations, conflicts between a single nation and its people, conflicts between groups, conflicts between individuals and indeed conflicts within individuals: many are unable to find peace.
Four small words are largely missing from our current world-view... "He is our peace." These four words come directly from Paul's letter to the Ephesian church in the Bible; specifically, from chapter two and verse fourteen. Let me give a bit of context by pulling ideas from chapter 2 in general; but first... who are the Ephesians?
Paul started the church in Ephesus years earlier and is writing to them to help strengthen and encourage them, to instruct them, and in certain areas to correct them. The Ephesians (residents of Ephesus, members of the church he founded and recipients of this letter) were for the most part not Jews, (the established religion of the day), but were Gentiles (essentially, anyone who is not a Jew) and could not benefit from the jewish religious rites that would deal with sin.
Paul reminds them that, not only were they considered outsiders to Israel and its benefits, but there was a time when they were also without Christ and as such, strangers from the promises of God; they had no hope and were without God in the world (verse 12).
In short, they couldn't have peace with God and they couldn't be at peace with God's people.
In light of that background, verse fourteen makes this bold proclamation... "He (Jesus) is our peace!" How so? He has made both (Jew and non-Jew) one and has broken down the middle wall of separation (between men and between men & God). The purpose? that He (Jesus) might reconcile them both (Jew and non-Jew) to God.
verse 18: for by Him (Jesus) we both (Jew and non-Jew: everyone) have access by one Spirit to the Father.
verse 13: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Herein lies the connection between the doves, the idea of peace, and Good Friday. I expererience peace in my life, amidst difficult and trying times,
- because there was a Good Friday (when Jesus died to pay the price for my sins)
- because there was an Easter morning (when Jesus conquered death, so that I could be made alive - Eph. 2.1)
- because there was the Jewish feast of pentecost some 50 days later, when God poured out his Spirit on believers for the very first time and they spoke with other tongues as that Spirit gave them the utterance (Acts 2.4).
- because I repented of my sin (and still do), was filled with His Spirit and had that same experience of tongues (July 1994 - and still do) and was baptized in the name of Jesus (Dec. 1997) so that my sins would be dealt with for good.
So as I experience Good Friday 2011 and reconcile to that my year-and-a-half-long occupation with white doves, recognized by so many as a symbol of peace, I am reminded that Jesus is Mike Long's peace. Everything else can be taken away from us by war, disaster, death or whatever, but my relationship with Jesus can only be abandoned, not removed.
I am thankful that the Lord is my peace this Easter.