The farmer found it at the headland of his corn acreage next to the woodlot. Apparently it had injured its wing and it looked rather comical hopping around in an effort to stay clear. But in moments when it rested he could not help but admire its streamlined shape, glimmering plumage and penetrating gaze - a golden eagle.
With a make-shift cage he was able to contain it and bring it to the barnyard where it was staked in a semi-shaded area not far from the ducks and chickens. With all the barn cats around, it was not hard to come up with harassed or partially eaten rodents which proved acceptable to the guest.
The rudimentary dressing and splint appeared to be doing the job and the bird was improving daily. The farmer noticed that the eagle was beating a path to and fro his stake. He would often notice the bird looking skyward as if waiting for something or someone. With the exception of a couple of brief scuffles, the domestic fowl stayed clear of him. They watched and studied how he behaved under his constraints.
After some consultation with his wife, the farmer knew that it was about time to release his stately guest to the wilds. He did have some concern about the transition, so it was agreed that there would be a visit from the Lands and Forests man.
The farmer asked the Ranger about the bird's habits and particularly about the constant pacing and looking up to the skies. This was the Ranger's answer:
"Sir, this is an extraordinary bird of the high skies. He has little business walking afoot with hens. He usually mates for life, and it is likely that on several occasions during the visit his partner passed overhead. At a certain point the free bird would asess whether it was possible to release the other, or whether to kill him. Either way the restrictions upon the beautiful golden visitor would soon be ended."
The farmer pondered these comments as the other drove off with the eagle..."high flyer...meant for the skies...suffering limitations...persevering...by taking up or by death...freed ...restored to his Mate".
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This was a story which I heard from Bert Clendenning, a compelling Texas preacher and friend of R.W. Schambach. I thought the imagery was excellent in light of the glorious hope of Christians to be caught up someday with their Lord. But the idea of constantly looking to the skies and having little to do with the other occupants of the farm, now gives me concern.
Of course we have been called to be different, and to many we will seem peculiar. We are citizens of heaven, but we must find ways to be of "some earthly good", to rub shoulders with neighbours, if possible to befriend them, and perhaps to see their hope turn skyward.