Summary: Let us be resolved to allow God to train us, like the eaglet to soar in the areas of prayer, trust in him and preaching the Gospel.
Sermon: St Mary and St. John’s 06-02-00
I would like to focus this evening on one verse from our Old Testament lesson:
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings of eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
1. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
Story: Eric Liddell
Many of you will have seen the film "Chariots of Fire", an outstanding film about a Christian Eric Liddell, who refuses to run in the prestigious 100 metres in the 1924 Paris Olympics because it involved racing in a preheat on a Sunday, which Liddell believed to be a ungodly use of Sunday.
Liddell was probably the fastest man alive at that time and had been the favourite to win it for Britain. The Press and even the Prince of Wales tried to talk him into running but he refused.
Instead, he went to the Scottish Presbyterian church that Sunday and read the lesson from Isaiah 40. And verse 31 seem to capture the situation
31. "But those who hope in the Lord...will run and not grow weary"
However, he was given the chance to race for Britain in the 400 metres a race he had never even run before. And God honoured him for his stand. Liddell ran the 400 metres at a 100 m pace. Te experts thought he was running the first 100 metres too fast and would tire later in the race. But it wasn’t to be and he won with a new world record.
As Christians God wants us to rely on him, whatever we are doing. As we look to him, he will give us the strength to continue and we are tempted to give in. There are times when we want to chuck the towel in - yet when we look to our Lord, he will RENEW our strength.
2. They will soar on wings like eagles.
Trusting in God is a growing process, just like an eagle who has to learn to fly. It takes time.
The eagles is an interesting bird. It makes its nest from briars and thorns and then inlays the nest with animal skin, to stop the thorns and briars hurting the newly hatched eaglets. For the eaglets, this is the life. Mum brings the food and the eaglets hangs around the nest getting fat. UNTIL one day, when Mum decides it is time to fly. Naturally the eaglets are not keen and so the mother eagle pulls away the animal skins and the eaglet is soon keen to leave the nest. He clambers on his mothers back and the mother flies high, 1000 ft, 2000 ft till she reaches about 5000 ft over the ground. If the eaglet suffers from vertigo, this isn’t the job for him. Suddenly, the mother tips the eaglet off and it goes hurtling down. It flaps it wings but nothing happens and the earth looks closer and closer. Just as the eaglet is about to be splattered all over the ground, the mother eagle swoops down and catches the eaglet and the process is repeated until the eaglet can fly.
And so it is with us in the Christian life. When we first become Christians we feel protected in the nest, but God soon takes us out of it, so that he can teach us to "soar on wings like eagles"
And the other readings this evening sum up for me three key areas in which he wants us to fly like the eagle.
1. To trust in God (Ps. 147)
Psalm 147 encourages us to learn to trust God:
Ps.147:11: The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
2. To pray (Mark 1:29-39)
Our gospel reading shows us the importance of prayer - even Jesus went off to pray:
Mark 1: 35: Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
3. To share the Gospel with others (I Cor. 9: 16-23)
Jesus great commission to the Church in Matt: 28:19 was to preach the Gospel. It was central in the Great Apostle Paul’s thinking:
I Cor. 9: 16 "Yet when I preach the Gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel".
Let us be resolved to allow God to train us, like the eaglet to soar in the areas of prayer, trust in him and preaching the Gospel.