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Detail of bark on a Pinus radiata tree

Above, bark on a Pinus radiata tree; left, redheaded woodpecker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This weekend, while sitting in the back yard, I saw a woodpecker hunting for food along the trunk of a pine tree. His red head, a sharp contrast to his black body, moved back and forth wildly as he plunges his beak over and over into the bark of the pine. Then he’d move to another spot and repeat the process. His hunt for food went on and on until perhaps he noticed the bird feeder hanging near the tree. He hopped over to it, and began pecking for his food in the holes along the tube-shaped feeder.

English: Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes ery...

 

 

While his pecking action served him well in the pine, and probably fed him seed at the feeder, it also caused seed to fly all over as he forced his beak into the soft seed. If other birds had witnessed this, and could think it, they’d have thought, “how vulgar is that fellow.”

Now the cats. We have two of them. The first, Tabby, was about six weeks old when we took her in. She’d been abandoned. We also took in a puppy, Brandy, at the same time. These two were raised together. Tabby is part Maine coon, and makes quite a scene when we take her into the veterinarian’s office. People love her, but always point out how big she is. She’s huge. . . for a cat. Tabby also has an interesting habit of expressing herself in what is nearly a bark, or as close as she can come. She’s been around Brandy nearly eight years now, and perhaps considers herself more dog than cat.

Two years ago, we took in a German shepherd/husky mix, Sina. While she “talks” as though she were giving a warbled whine, she also will occasionally bark. This is the nature of the husky that is within her.

The three of them are funny when the doorbell rings. The two dogs head for the door, while Tabby makes a straight run for the downstairs family room. She’s decided she’s big, but no match for however is at the door.

A month or so ago, we took in another given-up cat. Violet is about two years old and her previous caretaker couldn’t care for her any longer. Violet is small, and walks around the house carefully. She also has a very cat-like meow. She doesn’t bark like Tabby.

The woodpecker and Violet both act according to their true natures. A woodpecker is meant to peak at trees. Taken out of its environment, to the feeder, it continues to peak as if it were in a tree. Its his nature. Violet, too, speaks with a voice of a cat. “Meow,” she cries. Tabby is different. She was so young, and not long around other cats, that she’s adopted the strange habit of speaking in an bark. Now Sina is really interesting. The longer she’s been around Brandy, the more often she will bark rather than “talk” like a husky.

The Apostle Paul spoke of the nature that we have within us.

. . .put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus. He wrote to a people who’d not been raised in Jewish tradition and custom. They had formally been Gentiles, heathens, pagans. They were like the woodpecker and the cat Violet. The Ephesians had previously had a particular nature, an old self as Paul pointed out. This was to be a former life, something in the past, and to be put aside. They were encouraged to put on the new self that is created in the likeness of G-d. Tabby, on the other hand, grew up around an animal of a different nature. She accepted that barking, not soft meowing, was to be followed. Sina shows me that even in a short time she is able to adopt new behavior when around a different breed of dog.

The People of G-d come into the Biblical tradition in one of two ways. Either they are born into it, as Jews, or they are adopted into it, as Gentile Believers. For the Jew, it is only a matter of believing that Y’shuaJesus is Messiah that has come, and will come again. The Jewish people were awaiting a conquering Messiah when Y’shua came, died, and rose to Heaven. The Jewish people still await that conqueror. For the Jew to be complete, the Jew must recognize the dual role of Messiah: the suffering servant, Who lived, died, rose; and the conquering Messiah Who will come back to Earth to cleanse the wicked and to rule with justice. Their eyes and heart will be toward Y’shuaJesus as Messiah.

The Gentiles came to understand and find salvation in a Messiah who came to suffer and pay the bond that must be paid to come reconcile themselves with G-d. Formally Gentiles, they must also come to realize that they are now, as has been said, grafted into a domesticated tree. They are not the tree, but grafted branches among the natural branches, the Jewish Believers in Messiah Y’shuaJesus. As such, formally Gentile, Believers come to acknowledge Messiah Y’shua as Lord and Savior and coming King, putting off their former selves and practices of the heathen world.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .