Tag Archives: the Church

Hawks and Hades

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The small bird seemed to come out of nowhere. Like a Kamikaze pilot—zipping, diving, buzzing— he harassed the B-52 Bomber…a hawk.

No doubt, the bird had a nest nearby and he wasn’t going to tolerate the presence of a big and dangerous predator in his territory.

Standing on the paved path which connects several suburban neighborhoods, I watched the real-life drama play out for several minutes. Though I couldn’t identify the bird who  dive-bombed the hawk, he was persistent and untiring.

The hawk, though, kept making his slow, unperturbed circles. Each of his circles widened on the southward arc so that he gradually made his way into another neighborhood—and probably another bird’s territory. Mr. Hawk seemed to take these harassments in stride.

I once witnessed a hawk pluck one of the pigeons off my roof, fly it over to another roof and calmly begin to pluck the dead bird’s feathers all the while being mobbed by a flock of shrill, outraged pigeons.

We humans almost always identify the predator as bad.

But in God’s word, we read that Jesus proclaimed that the “gates of Hades” will not prevail against the truth of the gospel. (Matthew 16:18)

Surprisingly enough, that puts the Church in the position of the aggressor. The Church is the “hawk,” scoping out her next area of conquest. Not a conquest brought about by blood and savagery, but one of faithful ministry and testimony to a world that lives without the saving grace of Jesus. The “gate of Hades” does not come to us; we go to the gate…and use the battering ram of the gospel to knock down the defenses of the evil one.

As Believers, we need to stop viewing ourselves as weak and defenseless.

We are the members of Christ’s body, filled with God’s mighty power, who actively pursue those who run from God’s truth. We pursue them with acts of kindness, with our charity, with our prayers, and with our accounts of the love and faithfulness of Jesus.

We are hawks for God’s kingdom!

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt. 28:19 NIV Bible)

Is this in your marriage?

When my husband and I were in Seattle to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary recently, we took a “duck” tour of the city. In case you’ve never heard of these, they were built during World War two, mostly by Rosie-the-Riveter women. The ducks are oddly shaped trucks that can go into the water and behave just like a slow-moving boat.

Near the end of the tour, the guide proudly declared that he had been married twenty years and that he had learned the most essential thing to keep a marriage healthy: forgiveness.

Now, I’ll admit, that forgiveness is a pretty important element of a healthy marriage. But if I were to name the number one quality that keeps marriages going into the third, fourth, fifth decade, I’d have to say it’s not forgiveness. It’s commitment. That decision to stick together no matter what, through hard times, through economic downturns, through serious or chronic illness, through crisis and tragedy.

Our former pastor preached a short message at a wedding recently. He’d discovered a Hebrew term for this kind of commitment: “Chesed.” The English translation of the Hebrew word literally means: covenant loyalty.

I love that. It’s a term used many, many times in the Bible. Most of the time it refers to the kind of loving kindness that God shows us. And that is the kind of loving loyalty we are to show to our spouse.

God has promised us, as believers, covenant loyalty. He cannot break His word. He will always be loyal to us, He will never leave us. He would not be God if He broke His word.

So even when you are in the midst of crisis and you feel completely alone, rest assured that God’s presence surrounds you. As a loving husband promises his bride faithfulness, So God promises His Bride, the Church—and each believer is part of the Body of the Church—covenant loyalty.

No matter if we have just celebrated our first or our fifty-first wedding anniversary, the daily recognition of God’s consistent presence and loyalty helps us to reaffirm our own commitment to our husband or wife.

Covenant loyalty.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with kindness.” (Jer. 31:3 NIV Bible)

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