On Eagle’s Wings

There are times when we feel completely spent and have to be carried by others. It isn’t pleasant. It goes against all our notions of being adult and independent, humbles our pride and makes us realise how little control we actually have over our own life, let alone what goes on around us. Interestingly, Isaiah does not see this in negative terms. He links the experience of being carried, of renewing our strength, to the Lord’s understanding (cf Isaiah 40.25–31), while in the gospel, Jesus invites us to find rest in him (Matthew 11.28–30). There is clearly more to this than mere relaxation of effort.

I think one of the important lessons of Advent is that we are not in charge. No amount of effort on our part is going to make what we will come about. On the other hand, co-operating with grace will bring about what the Lord desires; and there’s the rub. So often there is a gap between our desires and the Lord’s. If we’re honest, we don’t always like the way the Lord orders things and secretly cherish alternative views about how matters should be arranged. I daresay Establishment figures in first-century Palestine were not too thrilled at the idea of salvation coming from what, on the surface, must have seemed a most unusual family situation. Even today, most of us probably have strong opinions about what the Church should be or do and are rather annoyed that others don’t necessarily see things the same way. Time to think about those eagle’s wings again, I suggest.

Video footage taken from an eagle in flight is fascinating. It gives a completely different view of the ground below. I hope it is not too fanciful to say that Advent can give us a new perspective on life, but we have to be willing to allow it, to let the scriptures appointed to be read at this season shape our understanding and let our inner eye focus on our goal.

P.S. Red kites, as pictured above, are a familiar sight round here.

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The Red Kite

The Red Kite
The Red Kite © Matt Hoskins (Furlined)

 

The re-introduction of the red kite to England and Wales is one of the most successful conservation stories of recent times. On this day, twenty-five years ago, five  birds were released into the Chilterns. Over the years a total of 93 birds from Spain, Germany and Sweden have been released into the wild (I don’t have the figures for Wales) and it is from them that the current-day population stems. The wheeeling flight of the red kite, with its magnificent chestnut plumage and elegantly forked tail, is now a common sight in the skies of Oxfordshire and adjacent counties. In Wales, the Elan Valley remains my site of choice for viewing these wonderful creatures.

It is tempting to see the world as full of nothing but death and disaster, and while I would not wish to pretend that everything is as it should be or that we can safely ignore what is going on around us, I would still want to say, ‘Look up; look out; see the beauty that surrounds us, and give thanks.’Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail