As I was eating my breakfast and looking outside my window on Friday morning, I saw a fight between 3 morning doves on top of our wood fence pictured on the right (near the bird house). Two of them flew off and left the one remaining dove perched on top of the fence, clearly frazzled by the exchange. A rabbit was sitting at the bottom of the fence, chewing on some grass very contentedly.
A couple minutes later, a chipmunk came onto the fence from the far end via the ash tree, hoping to pass by.
As soon as the chipmunk approached this dove, the dove flared its wings open wide to intimidate the chipmunk.
It worked. The chipmunk scurried back again to the edge of the fence. After a few seconds, she tried again, this time with just a little more gusto.
Once again the dove flared his wings open even more, this time with even more force.
The chipmunk ran away terrified and jumped off the end of the fence onto an ash tree branch close by. But she was not going to give up. This time the chipmunk approached gently back to the top of the second post above the bird house, and waited.
The dove waited for a second, before giving a very slight flick of its wings.
The chipmunk once again retreated, but much slower than the previous instance.
This happened a couple more times, before the chipmunk was brave enough to just sit a few chipmunk steps away from the dove and waited. The dove barely flared its wings at all, and moved off slightly to the side. Seeing the opening, the chipmunk rushed past the dove on the fence and disappeared into the brush of the maple tree.
A couple seconds passed by, then the dove turned around, backed itself up in a very relaxed manner so its tail was hanging off the edge, and promptly pooped on the side of the fence.
Meanwhile, the rabbit below was still sitting there, chewing the grass.
Jesus often teached using parables – stories or metaphors to help guide the point he was making or not making. Some of those parables involve moral lessons, others just flipped around a question that was asked of him. Parables are great because they are rich in meaning, and two people can read the same parable and come up with two entirely different interpretations. The flexibility of a story allows it to be relevant to a wider audience.
I saw this drama between the chipmunk and the dove, and immediately came up with some observations. I could share them with you or I could just let you figure out for yourself what lesson can be learned from this. Jesus often left his parables open-ended, he rarely explained their meaning, but left the interpretation open-ended. It’s that open-ended interpretation that allows for discussion, and it’s in the discussion where we truly learn all the layers of a story.
So I ask you, what do you see in this story? How do you read it? Is there any meaning to be derived from this? Feel free to leave a comment.