10 September 2008
It had never really occurred to me until recently. When God has allowed His prophets a glimpse of the heavenly realms, often, there are beings with wings. Of course, the church has picked up on this and we see winged angels in our artwork throughout the ages.
On the fifth day, we read, God created the flying things, as well as the swimmers, which many are actually fliers, just buoyant ones in a different ether than we are accustomed to. Then, He waited and made the land animals. Almost as if He checked Himself a bit. Perhaps knowing He must wait to give us something to aspire to. Knowing that we would need something to capture our imagination, cause us to look up, and dream of Heaven.
When God came to earth as flesh and blood in the incarnation, Jesus entreated His followers, “consider the birds of the air.” We tend to rush on to the lilies of the field and all that, because we think we understand the illustration. He again reminds us that not a sparrow falls to the ground that our Father is unaware. Our Savior spoke of the flying things.
We, as a people dreamed of flight for hundreds of years. To experience the freedom and the perspective of a bird on the wing. As our understanding of the physical word around us increased, eventually, we were able to take to the skies. Unfortunately, as we were learning more and more about the physical, I think, we began to lose the spiritual.
Now we could fly, but, by and large, we forgot why we wanted to. It had gone from a dream born on the creativity of God and visions of His splendor to a pursuit. A problem to be solved. Once we made that shift, and the “problem” was solved, we were left to figure out what we had, in fact, solved. As with most of our pursuits, it became about profit and loss, and now, after almost one hundred years of being able to take to the skies, actually doing it seems to be one of the most pedestrian things we do.
We are able to fly much faster and much higher than any creature. But we find ourselves increasingly wondering “why?” If we take the time to pause in field or forest, along lake or stream and watch the flying things, not those designed and profaned by ourselves, but those crafted by the hand of God. If we are quiet, and let the song of the bird enter not just our ears but our souls. If we ask, “Why does he sing when he flies?” Then, maybe, perhaps, the spirit within us might awaken and remember. Might remember when we dreamed of flying—not to get somewhere, but simply to be flying. Simply because it looked like it would be wonderful. Because we saw visions of cherubim and angels, and they had wings and they were near God.
Perhaps we shall have wings on the new earth. I do not know, and God has not seen fit to let us know yet. I cannot help but think that there will be wings around us if not on us. The Father seems to enjoy them, and He created them to be here, and to be where He is, or where He shows Himself to be.
Can there be a more striking vision, if we truly consider the birds of the air, of the Kingdom of God, of the good news that God loves us and desires us with Him, than to see a heron wading, take a few steps, elegant and breathtaking, then bow it’s head, spread it’s wings, and take to the air. I think it no mistake that we are told that Jesus, when He returns and all is made right again, will meet us in the air.
As the hymnist reminds us, “One glad morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away.” Not walk, run or swim. I’ll fly away. O glory!