Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Father's Love

We discovered on Tuesday that Corfe Castle - built by the King as one of the Royal Palaces - had one quite unusual feature- a carving of "The Pelican In Piety" high up on one wall of the keep. This type of carving has been quite common down the centuries- but usually only on churches and cathedrals - to find it in a castle is extremely uncommon - the King must have particularly wanted to declare his Christian faith.
It is said that naturalists of old, observing that the pelican had a crimson stain on the tip of its beak, reported that it was accustomed to feed its young with the blood flowing from its breast, which it tore for the purpose. In this belief the Early Christians adopted the pelican as a symbol of Christ, who brought us redemption through His blood, which was willingly shed for His children.
In the stonemason's area, we found two carvings of the pelican - one a corner piece, similar to the original - the other a roundel, showing the pelican pecking her breast to shed blood to feed her young.
I have been thinking about the pelican imagery all week - and the idea of the self-sacrifice of a loving parent in order to give life to the children.
Today is Father's Day - and many people will be remembering their Dads, and being grateful to them for their love and care. 
Not every child has had a good experience with their earthly father, sadly. Some children have been cruelly treated, others abandoned, others bereaved - and some have grown up never even knowing who their father is.
But God, the creator, is the perfect model of Fatherhood, showing unconditional love to his children. This lovely song by Stuart Townend reminds me of that...

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss -
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life -
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart -
His wounds have paid my ransom.


  1. Such a beautiful song-a perfect picture of God's love for us. We sing it often in our church.

  2. That is my favourite worship song of all. I wanted it at our wedding but Chris said No as he thought it wasn't appropriate for a wedding. Boo!!
    What an interesting idea of a pelican!


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