Vicar's Viewpoint April 2019

VICAR’S VIEWPOINT APRIL 2019. WINGS?                                                 

Dear Friends, 

 

Here is a brief reflection about Wings in light of the current Brexit debates and discussion. There are more thoughts on this subject later in this edition of the Parishes Paper. 

 

The notion of the ‘wing’ being a place of protection is a common one in scripture: Psalm 91:4 says: ‘…. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.’And in nature, one only has to look at a David Attenborough wildlife documentary to see this in action.

Aside from shelter, wings have other practical purposes which also lend themselves to spiritual and worldly metaphors. Wings are synonymous with flying and, while most birds and all airplanes use them to get airborne and take them from one place to another, they are also a metaphor for freedom and independence. Migrating birds are not subject to a country’s passport controls or border security, unlike human beings; they are free to come and go wherever they please. In Psalm 55:4 David wishes he had the wings of a dove to fly away…’ The desire to be free and independent (from Europe) were two of the many rationales of those who primarily voted for Brexit back in June 2016.

However, any migrating bird, or pilot of a plane, needs to know their direction/route and destination point before taking off. There is little doubt that lives would be put at risk if they opt to ‘wing-it’. Intriguingly, those who still want Britain to remain in the EU argue that Brexit is akin to a plane journey into the unknown - one that will end in a terrible crash.

Wings also symbolise strength and majesty. The United States of America (USA) has the bald eagle as its national emblem as it purportedly represents the potency and magnificence of that country. In Isaiah 40:31 the prophet says, ‘those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles…’

Interestingly, Jesus encompasses all these wing-related metaphors: in him there is freedom, strength, protection, assurance and direction and, if we put our faith in him, we will end up at the right destination. Moreover, he is as majestic as an eagle, but as peaceful as a dove. Jesus is the servant king – the one in whom we should ultimately place our hope.

In Luke 13v34 Jesus compares Himself to a mother hen who gathers her chicks under her wings for protection. Yet in a famous story of a hen in a fire, she sits on her chicks to protect them from the fire at the cost of her own life. That is what we remember at this season of Easter. Under His Wings, we do find protection and help for our lives now and forever as Jesus took the ‘Fire’ upon Him for our sakes. Yet He also rose again to give us a true and lasting Hope for the future.