Rector's Blog

The Divine Eagle

The psalmist  draws a comforting picture when he says: 
       Keep me as the apple of an eye
       Hide me under the  shadow of thy wings (Psalm 17: 8)

The  common motif throughout the Bible is of God as the divine eagle. References to eagles are made 33 times and only the dove has more mentions at 50. In Judaism the eagle is a sign of strength and Gods protection.  We even read out Bible service readings from a lectern which is shaped like an eagle with outstretched wings supporting the  wisdom and weight of of the years upon its back. The implication is that as we read the Bible our faith will soar.
   As early as Deuteronomy ( 32:11) God is pictured as a mother eagle pushing her offspring out of the nest in order to teach them how to fly. Eagles are great mothers who build their nests in the tall trees away from the prying hands of man. She takes the utmost care to line the nest with the softest feathers she can find. When the eggs hatch and the eaglets are born she gives them her complete and undivided attention. There are websites where you can watch the progress of eagles
She fills the nest with tiny morsels that will keep them going. After several weeks of this tender loving care the mother eagle changes in behaviour. She knows it is time for her eaglets to leave the nest and learn to fly. So, reaching down into the nest she rips out the feathers , breaks up the twigs and overturns the nice comfortable home.  The eaglets we assume are terrified. Presently she nudges one of the eaglets towards the edge of the overturned nest and pushes it out into the air. The little bird falls like a bullet to the ground. Just as it’s about to hit the ground the mother eagle swoops beneath it and catches it on her broad wings and carries it to safety in the sky. Then she tilts her wing and the bird falls once again but as it flaps its wings it discovers it can fly. God does that with us. He pushes us out of our comfortable nest in order that we might expand our wings and soar towards a higher purpose. How many of us would be where we are today if God hadn’t overturned our lives and changed our circumstances.  
    In Isaiah ( 40:25-31) Isaiah says that an eagle soars, not flaps. In our mind, flapping has to do with panic. If someone flaps about it’s usually because they aren’t confident in what they are doing. So we tell them to stop, re-evaluate, calm down and move on.
Sometimes eagles perch on a high rock and wait for a bit whilst testing the winds with their wings. When the winds feel right they will expand their wings and be lifted to greater heights.The same applies to us. Sometimes there is a breeze blowing as we wait for Gods signal to move. When the time is right we will be lifted up and we will have confidence in what we are doing. Life is determined more by our reaction to events rather than our action. When God allows things to come into our lives it is our reaction to the events that determines what happens next. When troubles and decisions  come that affect our lives the Bible tells us to soar not flap.
    When the storm strikes the eagle if it has its wings set in a downward tilt it would be dashed to pieces on the ground. But if its wings are lifted upwards it will rise above the storm. It will go through it just as we go through life’s storms . But if we have our eyes fixed upwards towards God we will go through it and come out the other side perhaps bruised and battered but through it. If we look to the ground we could easily spiral down with mental health issues and disaster because our focus has shifted.  The Psalmist  says ‘hide me’ I think of being protected by Gods outstretched wings of love . I can hear his heart beat the same rhythmical sound that has existed since time began. There is no need to flap or panic our God is constant in all life’s situations.
      I think of Proverbs (25:2)  when he says he hides his most precious gifts so that there is joy when they are found. It is a universal truth that the most valuable treasures are hidden from clear view . The Pearl is hidden within the oyster shell. The diamond is buried deep within the earth. The gold nugget is concealed in a mountain. God plans it so that the greatest treasures are concealed and we have to look for them. So it is with faith. Deep within this church; the faith of its members has lasted down the years.  To fly with the wings of faith takes time to practice: being in the presence of God, our teacher, through prayer  and Bible Reading and meeting with fellow Christian’s.  Please feel free to join us on our faith journey .