On Pigeon’s Wings

“…and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.'” – Luke 2:24

“…for my eyes have seen your salvation…” – Luke 2:30

Bearing their eight-day-old sons, two-week-old daughters,
the parents bring their sacrifices to the priests.
Each brings a pigeon or a dove, but some a lamb.
Those leading lambs wear finer clothes
than those who bear two turtledoves.
The gift is what they can afford.

One couple, bearing pigeons and a son,
are told that they have been anticipated.
An elder man accosts them in the Temple court
to celebrate their child’s role in Israel’s salvation.
“A light for revelation!” now he cries,
but also, mother, know your heart will ache.

The couple might have edged away,
but from another side a woman comes,
another elder, face well lined with years.
She comes and praises God for this small child.
He will, she promises, redeem Jerusalem.
She praises what she knows she will not see.

The parents fade once more into the crowd,
and those about are well content to let them go.
Their clothes were nothing fine; their feet
were travel-stained, and their sacrifice would be
no more than pigeons, what a family offered
when they lacked both power and wealth.

A pity that a pious, virtuous crowd
was blinded by
a pair of pigeon’s wings.

A poem/prayer based on Luke 2:22-40 the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year A, the Presentation of the Lord.

The image is a mosaic of The Presentation in the Monastery of Hosios Loukas, Distomo, Greece. Photo by Hans A. Rosbach – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8943645.

4 thoughts on “On Pigeon’s Wings

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