There are certain lessons we can learn from the eagle.
If you ever happen to see an eagle sitting high above the tree or cliff of a stiff mountain, watch closely and see how attentive the bird is. The body sits still and the head will be tilted side to side to observe what is happening below, around and above it. Even if it’s flying close by, you can observe how keen its eyes are looking for its prey. Eagles have a keen vision. Their eyes are specially designed for long distance focus and clarity. They can spot another eagle soaring from 50 miles away. Having a vision of where we want to be, what we want to do, where we want to go is something which applies to us as individuals and as a community of faith. A big, focused vision will produce big results.
An eagle will never surrender to the size or strength of its prey. It will always give a fight to win its prey or regain its territory. Eagles are tenacious .Watch an eagle when a storm comes. When other birds fly away from the storm with fear, an eagle spreads its mighty wings and uses the current to soar to greater heights. The eagle takes advantage of the very storm that lesser birds fear and head for cover.
Eagles can fly up to an altitude of 10,000 feet, but they are able to swiftly land on the ground. At 10, 000 feet, you will never find another bird. If you find another bird, it has to be an eagle.
They fly and make less noise waiting for opportunities to strike their next prey or glide with the current of the storm. They are problem solvers.
Eagles are full of life and are visionary but they find time to look back at their life and re-energize themselves. This happens at about the age of 30. What happens is that when the eagles reach the age of 30, their physical body condition deteriorates fast making it difficult for them to survive. What is really interesting is that the eagle never gives up living, instead it retreats to a mountaintop and over a five month period goes through a metamorphosis. It knocks off its own beak by banging it against a rock, plucks out its talons and then feathers. Each stage produces a re-growth of the removed body parts, allowing the eagle to live for another 30 – 40 years. It is as though the eagle has some sort of understanding of resurrection, of a second life, that you don’t give up when you reach a certain age. And our churches are full of eagles, like me, and many of you, the silver generation, but still firm in our commitment to God’s mission.
Eagles are known for their aggression. What is more astonishing with this bird is their ability to nurture their young ones. Research has shown that no member of the bird family is more gentle and attentive to its young ones than the eagles. When the mother eagle sees that time has come for it to teach the eaglets to fly, she gathers an eaglet onto her back, and spreading her wings, flies high. Suddenly she swoops out from under the eaglet and allows it to fall. As it falls, it gradually learns what its wings are for until the mother catches it once again. The process is repeated. If the young is slow to learn or cowardly, she returns it to the nest, and begins to tear the nest apart, until there is nothing left for the eaglet to cling to. Then she nudges him off the cliff.
Some verses about eagles :
Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Job 39:26-30 “Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold. From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away. His young ones suck up blood, and where the slain are, there is he.”
Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
Thank you God for the ingenuity of eagles, their keen awareness of what is happening around them, their care for their young, and taking on a new lease of life. Like the eagles, may we not be limited by age, but live out your calling in ways that fit our abilities. Amen
Janice Clark – Area Trustee Yorkshire North & East, Yorkshire West and Sheffield