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Soaring Like an Eagle

For the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Scripture Reference: Isa. 40:29-31

Preparation (optional): Bring a picture of a soaring eagle to illustrate your sermon.

How many of you have seen an eagle or a hawk soaring high in the sky? (Let children respond.) It’s amazing to watch, isn’t it? The beautiful bird will spread its wings wide and make big circles in the sky. An eagle can make flying look easy. It doesn’t have to beat its wings to stay way up in the air.

But, a hummingbird is quite different from an eagle, isn’t it? Both are incredibly beautiful birds, but an eagle is very large with huge wings, and a hummingbird is tiny. Can anyone tell me the differences between the way an eagle flies and the way a hummingbird flies? (Discuss with the children.) A hummingbird has to beat its wings very fast to get where it wants to go or just to keep itself up in the air. An eagle can beat its wings slowly—or not at all—and still keep flying.

Have you ever felt like an eagle? There’s a verse in the book of Isaiah that says people who trust in God are like eagles. Isaiah 40, verse 31 gives a wonderful word picture. Try to see this in your mind as I read the verse. “Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (nlt).

I have a question for you. Do eagles soar in the sky on their own power? How can they stay way up in the sky for so long without even flapping their wings? (Someone may offer the correct answer.) It’s not the eagle’s own strength that keeps it up in the sky; it is the wind. When the eagle finds a place where warmer air is rising quickly, it can ride that rising column of air higher and higher into the sky, then glide back down to earth. The warm air rising up beneath the wings of the eagle is what keeps the eagle soaring in the sky. (You may have the children spread their “wings” like eagles and pretend to soar.)

When we are tired of doing the right thing, tired of being nice, tired of obeying our parents, and are not sure if we can keep doing what we know God wants us to do, where do we get the strength to keep going? (Children can respond.) Our strength comes from God, doesn’t it? He is like the wind under our wings, helping us to soar like eagles.

If we try to do things on our own, we’re more like the little hummingbird, using all our energy just to stay a little way above the ground. We can’t do it on our own. But God gives us the strength we need to obey, and he even gives us the faith we need to believe in him. (After the prayer, you may encourage the children to spread out their “wings” and glide back to their places.)

Dear Lord, when we are tired or frightened, help us to rely on your strength and let you be the wind beneath our wings.


3 comments to Soaring Like an Eagle

  • Norma

    I love the story and will pass it on. Elsa is really creative. Doesn’t the fairy look a little like her?

  • looloo

    I have to write a five minute message about spiritual strength! I need help!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ruth

    In reply to Looloo; You are welcome to use the metaphors in this sermon to emphasize that it is not by our own strength that we gain spiritual muscle. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is strong when we are weak and recognize that our strength comes from God. Of course, if we are crouching under a tree with our wings closed, it is hard for God to lift us up. Sometimes we have to go out on a limb to feel the strength of God’s supporting and transformative Holy Spirit wind.
    Blessings,
    Ruth

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