Sunday 22nd October

On Wings of Love

I wonder if any of you have ever been given a feather as you came into church before today? I know that I have never had one given to me, but I wanted us to think about feathers and flying, and love.

Birds are wonderful. Last week we sat on a terrace in Wales and watched as hundreds of red kites came swooping over us to be fed at the Kite feeding station. They were gliding and hovering, tail and wing feathers in harmony. We were entranced. The story of the ostrich who wanted to fly is absurd of course – those fine feathers (that we used to use as dusters) cannot possibly support the weight of such big birds. Yet the ostrich flew – with a bit of loving care from his friends, flying above the clouds, holding him up and flying him along to achieve what he wanted – to be like everyone else.

The lesson from that is this is how God is with us. God enables us to do more than we feel capable of by quietly supporting us and holding us up when we fail until we can do what we were born to do. And those around us have a part to play in that too – for we are all able to encourage and cheer those we know and love.

When Paul wrote his letters to the church in Corinth he was writing to a church community that was struggling with what they believed and how they viewed each other. Paul’s letters were understood as a practical response to their difficulties. The “hymn to love” in chapter 13 is an outworking of Jesus instruction to “Love one another, as I have loved you” It stresses that love itself is selfless and kind, and emphasises that we are all children until we come to the full knowledge of love. We (as were the Corinthians) are to love as we are loved.

Not one of us can know what Chloe will do with her life – but we know that she was born of Zoe and Sabi’s love for each other, and that she will be surrounded by love for ever. We hope that she will soar on those wings of love to become the person God has intended her to be. I recently read a quotation that I thought was pertinent to Chloe – and to all of us today. “People who love never clip anyone’s wings. Instead they give them more feathers and enable them to fly!

These feathers you picked up are a reminder for you of Chloe’s Baptism; of the story of the ostrich who wanted to fly but could not do it alone; of the promises we have all made to support and encourage Chloe and her family on her way to achieving her goals; and of our part in loving this world, where God gives us enough love and grace that we can share so that others may soar.

Every time you look at the feather, marvel at how wonderful it is to enable flight – pray for Chloe, for Zoe and Sabi, for the Godparents – and for all those you know who need encouragement on their way through life.

May God bless us all as we help others to soar on the wings of love.

Revd Barbara Bennett