The Word

Jews, Gentiles, and Finches

I use to own a couple of finches: male and female.  One day the female died.  Since I didn’t want the male to be alone I went out and got another female finch to keep him company.  What I didn’t know was that cute little finches can be as territorial as lions and just as fierce.  In my ignorance I introduced the female by simply placing her in the cage with the male.  The next thing I know the male is chasing the female around the cage trying to kill her.  Before I could react the male had her wing in his beak and she was hanging in midair: the weight of her body pulling the one wing (the one in his beak) open and frantically beating the other wing.

After separating them I tried to find out what was going on.  I discovered that finches, like any other animal, are extremely territorial and you can’t just introduce them by throwing them in together and expecting them to get along.  What you have to do instead is mess up their worldview.  You accomplish this by removing the one from its territory and giving it to the other one.  Then you place them side by side, not close enough where they can harm one another, but close enough, so they can get used to each other.  Then you reintroduce the one who had been taken out of his territory and they will now get along.

This works because, in a sense, it humbles both of them.  The new bird that has been introduced into the old one’s territory knows, because of the scents left by the displaced bird that this is not rightly their territory and, therefore, will not try to dominate.  The old bird, whose original territory it is, when reintroduced will not try to dominate because of the new smells introduced into it by the new bird.  He cannot claim dominance because it is no longer his alone.

The history of Christianity is much like what occurred with my finches: first, it was introduced to the Jews (the elect) and the early Jews persecuted the new Christian converts (who were later mainly gentiles) because they felt they were impinging on their territory. This led to their eventual separation where they coexisted in the world, but could not cross over from one side to another.  What barred them from this was Christ.  The Jews could only cross the bar by accepting Him as the Messiah and the Christians were barred unless they rejected Him.  And as I reintroduced my finches by bringing the old into the new, so the Church teaches that the Jews and Christians will eventually be reunited when the Jews are converted and enter the Church.

The similarities between my experience with my finches and the Jews and gentiles is so eerie that it makes me wonder if that is why God has done what He has done: to humble both the Jews and the gentiles, so when they are reintroduced neither will try to dominate.

Post photo suppled by Steven Lilley at Flickr under the Creative Commons Share Alike Attribution 2.0 license

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