Marion and I have just recently returned from holiday on the Isle of Wight. I hadn’t visited the island for at least twenty years and I’d forgotten how nice it was. While Marion and her sister and brother-in-law were undertaking the considerable feat of walking the entire island coastal path – a distance of 80 miles plus I spent my days out in the countryside or by the sea with my binoculars. In six days I say 40 different bird species. Who needs, “Springwatch?”

As well as observing a pair of peregrine falcons, the highlight of my birding was coming across a family of ravens in Bembridge harbour. I was told by the locals that the ravens, the largest members of the crow family, were attracted to the area by the fact that the lady who owned the harbour tea stall fed them. This reminded me of the incident recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible in 1st Kings chapter 17 where rather than feeding ravens – the prophet, Elijah, was fed by ravens thus enabling him not only to survive in a hostile environment but gave him the strength to carry on in his mission to speak God’s word.

Elijah was ministered to by ravens – often we receive help and encouragement from the most unlikely sources. Elijah understood the ravens were sent by God – let us be alive to God’s encouragement in our own lives which often comes to us in ways we don’t expect. Also we too can be like the ravens – providing produce for the food banks is just one example of “raven ministry!!”

While on the subject, the writer of Psalm 147 uses ravens as an illustration of God’s kindness and care for his creation –

“The Lord covers the sky with clouds,
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.”

(Psalm 147:8-9)