As I lay hold of peace this Lent, I’m loving the passages I get to read on the peaceful, non-violent resistance of Jesus’ ministry and death on the cross. 

Eugene H. Peterson describes His ministry this way, “He just as clearly repudiated the accustomed means by which that rule was exercised: he rejected the devil’s offer of a position in government, rebuked the brothers Boanerges for wanting to call down fire from heaven to incinerate their enemies, ordered Peter to put up his sword, and reassured Pilate that the government’s job was in no danger. Finally, to make sure no one missed the point, he arranged that his coronation take place on a cross.” (God’s Messages For Each Day, pg. 

Jesus was expected to be a Warrior Messiah but He came to be our humble Prince of Peace.  

Inaugurating a new Kingdom that stood in contrast to the kingdom of this world, Jesus’ coronation as King Eternal of this paradoxical, upside down, peculiar, peacemaking kingdom was on a cross, not a throne!  

Can I get a “Hallelujer”, y’all?

Midentity as a citizen of His radically nonviolent kingdom, is something I never want to forget so I was going to get a cross tattooed on my wrist until a couple of months ago when my pastor preached on the dove that descended on Jesus at His baptism. The interpretations of the symbolism of the dove in the Bible blew my mind!  Many of them are debatable, some of are fun, and others are convicting.  A few of them reflect my favorite principles of the Kingdom of Jesus. 

So, let’s check out my ten loves for the dove that contributed to me changing my tattoo:

10: Doves are cute
 Look at them, with their pure, white feathers and their innocent, little faces.  So stinking cute!!!!

9: Doves mate for life
Well…Mourning Doves do. Even though they have a life expectancy of two weeks­—that’s longer than most relationships on the CW! All kidding aside, it’s a beautiful symbol of fidelity and commitment to the one you love.
8: Doves remind me to speak the truth with love
Jesus invokes the imagery of serpents and doves when he cautions his disciples to temper their zeal to share the Gospel with wisdom and gentleness. I so need this reminder. You may not believe this but,  your girl can shoot off at the mouth something fierce!  I love this encouraging commentary of Matthew 10:16 to balance conviction with tender compassion. 
7: Song of Solomon uses “my dove” as a term of endearment.  So presh! (Songs 1:15, 2:10, 2:14, 4:1, 5:2, 6:9)
6: Doves are messengers of hope and I try to hold on to hope.
When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. Genesis 8:9. This is probably one of the most hopeful moments in the Old Testament.  Noah, after spending 40 days in the ark, tossed back and forth from the waves created by the great flood, finally had hope that a new beginning for mankind was dawning.
5: Doves indicate a new beginning
Speaking of new beginnings, the dove that hovered over and rested on Jesus after his baptism, harkens back to that image of the dove hovering near the ark, proclaiming that the Lord is doing something new.  This was the beginning of a new way being: where the first will be last and the foolish things will be chosen to shame the wise. (Genesis 8:11, 1 Cor. 1:27)
4: Doves remind me to be present with the poor
and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22
When Jews in the first century were too poor to bring larger sacrifices to the temple, such as lambs or goats,  they sacrificed pigeons, grains, and sometimes turtledoves. The Holy Spirit took on the form of a dove and rest upon Jesus at the beginning of his ministry. What a beautiful picture of solidarity!  God is not only mindful of the poor, he identifies with them.  I want to be a woman of compassion who builds dignity-restoring relationships with the poor. 
3: Doves represent celebrations and I do love a good party! 
June will be here before we know and with it being the most popular month for weddings,  I have folded many a laundry basket to TLC’s “Four Weddings” Marathon. One episode, a couple released doves to celebrate their union and maybe…just maybe I had a little, tiny (just a smidgen, really) bit of wedding envy. I loved our wedding day; every single moment of it, but if we ever renew our vows, you can bet doves will be released to celebrate!
2: The Dove reminds me to depend of the Holy Spirit
As we plant this church, I’m reminded of the words of Charles H. Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit, “You are engaged in a work so spiritual, so far above all human power, that to forget the Spirit is to ensure defeat. Make the Holy Ghost to be the sine qua non of your efforts, and go so far as to say to Him, “If thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence.””
1: Doves are a common symbol of peace and I love the peace teachings of Jesus.
 And we bring it back to the beginning, where the teachings and ministry of Jesus has changed my life forever.  I always said if I ever got a tattoo, it would be of something that Lord has indelibly written on my heart.  As the poppy, Christian boy band Plus One puts it,  “a soul tattoo” :).  

So there you have it, my ten reasons I love the dove! Ten reasons why I can’t wait to get my tattoo next week. Ten reasons why I’m proud to be a citizen of Jesus’ upside down, backwards, peculiar kingdom.  
Which one of my loves for the dove do you love 🙂? Which symbolism of the dove is most meaningful for you?  And most importantly, what is your favorite TLC reality show?

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