Paul Lutheran Church Sunday Service
“For The Praise of His Glory” Ephesians
Sunday After Pentecost
“A Wish For Wings That
Work!” That’s the title of a
cute little story by a cartoonist named Berkeley Breathed, who used to do a
comic strip that appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star titled, “Bloom County”
The main character of that comic strip was a thoughtful,
humorous, sometimes cynical little penguin named Opus.
One Christmas the one and only
gift that Opus wanted for Christmas was a pair of “wings that worked.”
Opus had this one wish, a strong wish, a dream if you will. Although he
could walk & swim & get around like the rest of us, Opus wanted to fly.
He wanted to be able to rise high, to be lifted up, to soar above the
landscape, to be free of things flat and heavy and sometimes frustrating or hard
I think we all know the
feeling. While some folks are
flying or riding Ferris
wheels and some of us may cautiously keep our distance from the edges of deep
canyons or steep cliffs, still it is an inviting, interesting, uplifting thought
to imagine oneself soaring above the landscape; rising high above the storms
& troubles of life; feeling an exhilarating freedom from things flat &
heavy & sometimes frustrating or hard to face.
“Oh, for wings that work!”
Or as a hit song made popular by Bette Midler says, what a different
feeling to life there is; what a joy to be alive; what great hope to have --
when you can fly higher than an eagle
because someone you know is “the wind beneath your wings.”
Maybe you know the feeling.
Maybe you have longed for “wings that work” or for “the wind beneath your
wings.” Yes! There are those who would call this “wishful thinking” or
“day-dreaming” or not-being-being-able-to-face-reality.
But then again, when it comes to “wings that work”, the Bible, is on
our side. The Bible says, “Go for
it.” When Sadie sang “On
Eagle’s Wings” & we joined in to sing The Lord will raise you up on eagle wings, bear you on the
breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His
hand, this is not wishful thinking. This is not day-dreaming. This is
not avoiding reality. This is good,
sound, Christian theology.
God is our refuge & strength, a
very present help in trouble, says
Psalm 46, and so we picture God as a rock, a fortress, a safe place to go when
times are dark & stormy.
But then there is also
this wonderful, incredible picture of God at the end of Isaiah 40, where the
prophet declares, Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
Have you ever been there; done
that? Have you ever gone so far and
didn’t think you could go any further - or given so much and you didn’t
think you could give any more, but you did.
To be strong in the face of adversity; to run & not be tired, to walk
& not be weary; to rise to a new day and know that the God’s mercies are
new unto us every morning, what a blessing when God gives us wings to fly, wings
that work. What a blessing when God
Himself with all His love & power & grace focused toward us in the life
& work, the suffering & death of Jesus Christ winds up being, the
wind beneath our wings.
Yesterday morning, about
10:30, when I called Lincoln to see how our daughter and her family were doing
as they faced another long hospitalization with their 2 ½
year old son, Nathan, Rob’s mother, Marge, answered the phone at
Rob’s Uncle & Aunt’s house where all of them were staying for the
weekend. Marge told me the family had a good night after Rob & Jenny &
Nathan had had a long day at the Children’s Hospital in Omaha and Nathan was
doing well. Then Rob’s mom said,
since it was such a nice Saturday morning, the five of them were headed together
for the children’s zoo in Lincoln, which to me sounded like a welcome respite,
a real “picker-upper”, a nice change of pace, something light &
easy-going – like an eagle lifting off a tall tree, soaring, swooping, letting
the wind carry it, up & down, floating, flying, yet not straining, not
worrying, not wearing out.
Oh, for wings that work!
Oh, for bit of God’s power from on high, for God’s perfect love
without any strings attached, for salvation & reconciliation with God free
& clear. Oh,
for a thousand tongues to sing My great Redeemer’s praise, The
glories of my God and King, The
triumphs of his grace. (LW, no. 276, v.1)
“You know,” writes one
author & observer of churches, “The congregation in the pews this time of
year is mostly the regulars. Generally, they are the ‘old faithful,’ those
for whom church is a lifetime habit. Many
of them are active, hard workers in God’s vineyard.
And then this author
continues, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Sunday ser-vice just to relax; a
Sunday to let our hearts & minds coast a little, maybe even soar a little on
matter how full or how empty the church is on a summer Sunday ought we not give
God a bit more room to move us above & beyond those things that weigh heavy
on our hearts & minds? Ought we not let God in His Word and with His rich
grace heal & strengthen & renew our whole being?
Who knows, we might then be able to believe the truth about ourselves, “no
matter how beautiful & wonderful that truth it is.”
That’s the point the apostle Paul
makes in the Epistle for this Sunday, in the opening verses of his letter to the
Christians in and around Ephesus. To
the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus, writes
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
What then follows this
warm, grace-filled greeting is a great, uplifting, soaring, joyful, powerful,
thankful song of praise to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who has made us
& continues to make us what we are as God’s dearly beloved children no
matter what happens to us in this life.
Like an eagle stretching out
it’s powerful wings, lifting off from a tree high on the side of a
magnificent, sprawling valley, taking in the wondrous view of how everything
below fits together, Paul launches into this beautiful, soaring,
magnificent testimony to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working together
for the good of those who are one in Jesus Christ; created, redeemed, sanctified
in Christ; blessed, beloved, beautiful people in Christ, like Christ, full of
On Eagle’s Wings! Wings that work! Wind
beneath our wings! Here it is.
Words of good news - a song of truth that enables us to fly higher than
an eagle - Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual
blessing in the heavenly places . .
In Christ we have redemption
through his blood, the forgtivenes of our trespasses, according to the riches of
his grace that he lavished on us.
In Christ we have also
obtained an inheritance . . so that we, who
were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory
. . .
In Christ you also, when you
had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in
him, (you found your-selves home free – signed, sealed, and delivered by the
This is the first installment
of what’s coming, a reminder that we will get everything God has planned for
us, living our lives for the praise of God’s glory now and forever.
If you and I
want “wings that work”; when we want to rise & be lifted above the
troubles & tensions, the burdens & bad news, the unknowns &
uncertainties of life without having to have everything explained to us or make
sense to us, what better way to go each day, to face each day than knowing who
we are & what we have in Jesus Christ.
God Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit enables us to ride the winds of any storm that brings sickness, tragedy,
failure and disappointment in our lives. God
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit which is God above us, God among us, God within us
enables us to rise above the realities of our lives without being overwhelmed by
them. It is something for us to
remember – that it’s not the tribulations and troubles of life that weigh us
down; it’s how we handle them.
Those who hope in the Lord will renew
their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.
May we too set our hope on Christ that we might live for the praise of
His glory, today, tomorrow, and forever.