Why You Need to Welcome Ravens for Your Mental Health

The rawness of the meat was either inviting or disturbingly unappealing. Stories shared, honesty held as holy, the powerless being empowered.

For some it was too raw, too up close and uncomfortable for them to receive the gift God was offering. To take in this gift there would have to be a open vulnerability to the poor, the broken, the unqualified.

Are you open to God using the poor and despised? God using those that have been stigmatised to bring nourishment to your parched soul.

‘No, I want the clean, the professional, the sanctified, the qualified.’

When people suffer from depression and other mental illnesses, often they are rejected or abandoned by many Christians. Instead, they find they are fed, supported and welcomed by those who have nothing to do with God but who have compassion and real humanity.

Being open to receive from the ‘unclean’ could be the way God wants to bring nourishment to your soul.

We don’t have Ravens here in New Zealand, we don’t even have Crows, but for me and many others Ravens carry a certain persona of darkness, evil, and horror.

Possibly it was from those early black and white Alfred Hitchcock movies with close-up shots of screeching birds that the seeds of fear were sown.

Never the less, if you look further into learning more about Ravens you discover that they are quite an amazing bird. Living up to 21 years in the wild, these birds are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat and vegetable matter. Wikipedia tells us that

Part of their success as a species is due to their omnivorous diet; they are extremely versatile and opportunistic in finding sources of nutrition, feeding on carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, and food waste.

Some notable feats of problem-solving provide evidence that the common raven is unusually intelligent.

For one man, Ravens became the cafe waiters at his hide-a-way retreat.

Elijah the Tishbite, from among the settlers of Gilead, confronted Ahab: “As surely as God lives, the God of Israel before whom I stand in obedient service, the next years are going to see a total drought—not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise.”

God then told Elijah, “Get out of here, and fast. Head east and hide out at the Kerith Ravine on the other side of the Jordan River. You can drink fresh water from the brook; I’ve ordered the ravens to feed you.”

Elijah obeyed God’s orders. He went and camped in the Kerith canyon on the other side of the Jordan. And sure enough, ravens brought him his meals, both breakfast and supper, and he drank from the brook. 1 Kings 17:1-6  The Message

Just go there for a mindful moment.

You being beak delivered morsels of meat, most likely scavenged from some dead animal. Not exactly clean and pure according to Jewish ceremonial rules, yet this was Gods doing and Gods plan. God steps outside of the rules.

Would you allow those who ‘break all the rules’ to feed you? Are you open to those who have ‘been there and done that’ being there and doing that for you?

Think about the beaten man and the Samaritan on the Jericho road. This parable wasn’t about the Samaritan, it was about the guy in the ditch, beaten, robbed, and left unconscious. Who was it that gave him care? It was the one who in the culture of the day was on the outside, considered as an outcast, impure and rejected.

Jesus, the chip of the old block, Son of God, flips our thinking upside down yet again.

Are you open to being fed by Ravens?

A modern day scenario to challenge your thinking.

You are walking down the street and a homeless man steps up to you and invites you into a church hall. The hall is noisy with celebration and the buzz of food being served. Hold on though, there is something different about this soup kitchen.

All the people at the tables are wearing business suits. Power dressed, bling and styled hair. Behind the counter are people with hair unkempt, bulky clothing, dirty hands, but with huge smiles on faces. As each person comes up to be served they are welcomed and told how wonderful they are.

There is no cliché ‘I just want to give back to the community’ verbage. Just shared expressions of love and care. There is no difference between each group.

When your naked and vulnerable, hungry and tired, you most need someone who cares.

The cook steps out of the kitchen, he’s been sweating over this meal a lifetime. He has scars and tattoos, emblems of previous battles. The nail shaped holes in his hands are difficult to keep clean, but there is a song in his heart that keeps raping out. There is something deliciously good going on here. His comfort falls.

Raven or receiver. Which one are you?

Mental Health is … being open to be provided for in ways unexpected. Click to Tweet
Mental Health is … sitting and accepting the deep profound care of God for you through others. Click to Tweet

Quote to ponder on

  • When life is hard, we are primed to learn something absolutely central. I call it God’s special hiding place. Richard Rohr
  • If I were to name the Christian religion, I would probably call it “The Way of the Wound.” Richard Rohr
  • Only the wounded physician heals. C. G. Jung

Questions to consider

  1. Who would you rather have as a guide to Mental Health? Someone who has walked the miles or someone who has been taught about the miles?
  2. Who in your life lives outside the norms of acceptability yet provides you with some element of nourishment? How do they do this?
  3. We can so easily get caught up in the wacky world of abundance and prosperity teaching. Could God be inviting you a Bear Grylls survival experience of relying on ravens? What feelings emerge when you consider this?
  4. Is your hand open or closed to the ravens of God? Closed fists don’t receive, they demand. Open hands both receive and give.

Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: CanyonlandsNPS via Compfight cc

Did you find this helpful, interesting, challenging? 

Could I ask you to do a couple of things?IMG_20151019_202347

You may also like to send me an email. There is a contact form at the base of this post. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

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