I took this picture in the yard outside the Tower of London. You may be familiar with the legend of the Ravens gathered there to keep watch over the monarchy. This is what the Ravenmaster told us: Each bird has a clipped wing, insuring that it will remain in its place to perform its royal duty. Ravens are highly intelligent and territorial. Stay back. They won’t hesitate to bite you if they think you’re threatening their territory.
When Ravens gather, they aren’t called a flock or a bevy or even a gaggle. If the group seems to be guarding something, they’re called a constable. If birds, seen as competitors come too close, Ravens band together to chase them off. This earns them the unfortunate name of a conspiracy or an unkindness.
It’s an inherent problem with most groups, even within the faith community. We clip wings to insure homogeneity. Easily threatened by new thoughts, we chase off those who think differently. Have we, in our zeal to become modern-day Bereans, allowed our focus to slip from knowing the God of the Bible, to knowing the text and syntax?
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
I can’t remember ever hearing a church described as full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. That’s unsurprising because I can’t always describe myself that way either and the church carries the characteristics of the bevy who’ve banded together.
I believe that the key to a life of grace is the underrated virtue of kindness. I find I have to continually check my thoughts, denying leg room to unkindness there. Only when I do that can I wear kindness on my face and express it in my words and actions.
The Tower won’t crumble without the Ravens. That’s a legend. But I will crumble and so then too, the church will crumble, if we don’t take great care about what we wear.