Doves were very interesting birds and yet contradictory symbols, as mentioned in the Bible. The dove with the olive branch was a symbol of peace. However, doves were also used as sacrificial offering by the poor. When the Holy Spirit, seen as a dove, descended upon Jesus at His baptism, it was to mark the beginning of God’s salvation
Pigeons (doves) are found in many countries, especially in open areas where there are people who feed them. But, we are warned that they carry harmful bacteria which can cause serious infection. Pigeons waddle on the ground, but they have one of the best flapping flight and glide in the air. There are people who release pigeons as a sign of peace, but there are also those who use them cruelly in gambling races. Generally, pigeons are quite trusting and sometimes seen as ‘stupid’ as they are quite easily ensnared and caught. Sesame Street often portrays pigeons with Bert, the not-so-clever half of Bert and Ernie.
Jesus taught us to “be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16)
However, it is easier for me to follow the first and discard the latter in this dog-eat-dog world. As Christ’s follower, I am constantly reminded by the Dove, the Holy Spirit, to look after not only my own interest but after those around me – to be an innocent dove ready to sacrifice my time, preference and love whenever and wherever I can. By B