Twenty years ago, I heard such a powerful sermon that it’s still vivid today. Bishop Mark MacDonald, now the Indigenous Anglican Archbishop of Canada, invited us to picture Jesus and his followers through the eyes of an eagle, soaring high above them. Imagine the “great multitude of people” gathered to hear the Sermon on the Plain in Luke’s Gospel (6:17).
An eagle looking down would have seen Jesus right in the center, with “all in the crowd trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.” Peter and the other eleven were right by Jesus’ side, surrounded by “a great crowd of his disciples.” Luke makes it clear that all kinds of people were on the road with Jesus: women and men, elders and kids, folks from every walk of life. Jesus connected with all of them, regardless of their backgrounds.
Surrounding those disciples was “a great multitude” from the nearby towns. They were curious about Jesus, pressing in to see and hear him better. As the crowd thinned out around the edges, there were people who’d just happened to come by and wondered what was going on. In those days, the appearance of a charismatic teacher must have caused quite a stir.
As Jesus began to speak, everyone hushed to hear him better. Eagles have keen hearing, so even from above, the words would have been clear: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Not only was Jesus proclaiming eternal life after death, but he promised that earthly life would be transformed as well. When God’s dreams for us come true, those who are hungry will be filled; those who weep will laugh; those who get no respect will be blessed. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
From the eagle’s vantage point, where are you in this picture? Are you in the midst of the crowd, straining to hear the message? Are you near enough to Jesus to sense his power radiating out? Are you on the edge of the gathering, wondering what they’re all fired up about?
Wherever you find yourself, come closer to Jesus. Feel his healing presence touching your body and soul. Receive his words of blessing in the depths of your heart. Become part of the changes he’s inspiring in the world around us. Come as you are, rejoicing and leaping with joy, for there’s a place for you in the community of God’s love.