As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will seek to post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.
Saturday 13th of June 2020
‘Learning to soar’
One of my most memorable walks took place in Glen Callater, a few miles south of Braemar. It was a fine October day. We had been exploring some of the hills that lie to the west of Lochnagar and were rewarded by spectacular views and good weather. As we headed off the hill and back down into Glen Callater, we were greeted by an even finer sight – two Golden Eagles soaring high in the sky above us. As the eagles circled above our heads calling out to each other, we then heard another sound in the distance. It was a deep throated roaring sound – the rutting of the red deer. It was a deeply enriching and memorable experience. The Scottish Highlands at their very best!
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
The passage from Isaiah contains one of the most vivid and memorable images of the Old Testament – the picture of an eagle with outstretched wings soaring high into the sky. The image is to remind us of the blessing of waiting and trusting in the Lord. As we wait in faith and hope, our strength is renewed. The apostle Paul also reminds us that God’s work of inner renewal does not diminish with age. Rather, God’s work of inner renewal continues right to the very end of our days and finds completion when we arrive in glory.
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
An eagle’s story
There is a story about a wounded young eagle that was rescued by a kind farmer. He found the bird in one of his fields and so took him home, tended to his wounds and then placed him outside in the barnyard to recover.
Strangely enough, the young eagle soon adapted to the habits of all the barnyard chickens. He learned to walk and cluck like them. He learned to drink from a trough and peck the dirt for food, and for many years he peacefully resigned himself to this new life on the ground.
But then one day, one of the farmer’s friends spotted the eagle and asked, “Why in the world is that bird acting like a chicken?” The farmer explained what had happened. Even so, the man could hardly accept the situation.
“It’s just not right,” said the friend. “The Creator made that bird to soar in the heavens, not scavenge in the barnyard!” So he picked up the unsuspecting eagle, climbed onto a nearby fence post, and tossed him into the air. But the confused bird just fell back to earth and searched for his feathered friends.
Undaunted, the man then grabbed the eagle and climbed to the top of the barn. As he heaved him off the roof, the bird made a few half-hearted squawks and flaps before falling into a bale of hay. After shaking his head a few times, the eagle then made himself comfortable and began mindlessly pecking at pieces of straw.
The friend went home that night dejected and could barely sleep as he remembered the sight of those powerful talons caked with barnyard mud. He couldn’t bear the thought, so the very next day he headed back to the farm for another try. This time he carried the eagle to the top of a nearby mountain where the sky unfolded in a limitless horizon.
He looked into the eagle’s eyes and cried out, “Don’t you understand? You weren’t made to live like a chicken! Why would you want to stay down here when you were born for the sky?” As the man held the confused bird, he made sure the eagle was facing into the brilliant light of the setting sun.
Then he powerfully heaved the bird into the sky, and this time the eagle opened his wings, looked at the sun, caught the updraft rising from the valley and disappeared into the clouds of heaven.
God’s children were born to fly. They were created by a loving God to soar. He has called them to live in the heights, yet too many have huddled together in the barnyard and become content and comfortable with crumbs.
Helen Keller once wrote, “One can never consent to creep when he feels an impulse to soar.” God’s people need to cultivate and exercise that impulse. If we do, we will one day soar like eagles.
This we have come to know,
this is what we have heard:
the Eternal is an everlasting God
creator of heaven and earth,
who does not grow weary or faint;
whose wisdom is unsearchable,
giving energy to the meek
and strength to those who have none.
Even youths shall faint and grow weary,
young athletes shall fall exhausted
but those who love the Lord Jesus
and patiently put their trust in God
shall renew their strength;
they shall soar with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
God of life
God of hope
God of all
on your love
like eagle's wings
Then send us
as you love.
You lift us up to the heights, Holy One.
On wings like eagles you enable us to
soar with the possibilities
of revolution, of transformation
both within our own souls
and within this world which needs so much care.
And yet it is not the bright skies
where we most often live.
We are here with our feet on the ground—
your feet planted firmly beside us
as we try to walk without fainting:
walk through the shadows of
death and ill-health and addiction;
walk through life changes:
moves, births, aging, loss.
We need your strength to not grow weary
as we continue to hope for new life
amidst old attitudes and injuries.
We long to run and not grow faint
as we challenge demeaning political tirades
that seep into our own daily encounters;
and as we work for your compassion and wholeness
for all people, and all creatures, and the very earth.
Lift us up to the heights, Holy One,
so we may again catch a glimpse
of the vast possibilities
of your Shalom
even as we pray for it here on earth
The Lord’s prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
now and forever.
Go now, and trust in God’s mercy for your strength.
Proclaim the good news wherever God calls you,
and do not set yourselves apart from others,
but be all things to all people for the sake of the gospel.
And may God give you the strength and freedom of an eagle.
May Christ be the bread that nourishes and renews you.
And may the Holy Spirit be the rising wind beneath your wings.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ.