1 Kings 17:2-6: “2 God then told Elijah,3 “Get out of here, and fast. Head east and hide out at the Kerith Ravine on the other side of the Jordan River.4 You can drink fresh water from the brook; I’ve ordered the ravens to feed you.”5 Elijah obeyed God’s orders. He went and camped in the Kerith canyon on the other side of the Jordan.6 And sure enough, ravens brought him his meals, both breakfast and supper, and he drank from the brook.

Ravens are among my favorite birds, second only to the hummingbird.

Ravens get a bad rap. They are associated with death in some folklore, or even witchcraft. Edgar Allen Poe wrote a poem entitled “The Raven.” Ravens are in fact one of the most intelligent of birds, and find many inventive ways of securing a meal. I saw a PBS special on Ravens that tracked them opening clam shells by throwing them against the rocks, or getting a free meal by finding a way to open a cooler lid to retrieve sandwiches. Added to their charm is that they can squawk and squeal in a “Raven jamboree” of cacophony that wakes an entire neighborhood in the early morning. They are, in a word, wonderful.

But perhaps their highest honor among birds is that they were enlisted into the service of God. They were entrusted to bring breakfast and dinner to God’s prophet during hard times. So, next time you’re tempted (if you are) to say something negative about ravens, remember that God chose them among all birds for a holy assignment. Remember too that they fulfilled their duty faithfully.