Sermons from St Faith's
The Fall of Eagles
Sunday, October 18th, 2015
Life can be very scary and unpredictable. We
fear the worst at times, we canít control everything
that happens; much as we might try. Sometimes
the world seems to conspire against the desired
outcome. I was watching the 1970s drama series
ĎFall of Eaglesí again, which tells the story from
late 19th century up till the end of the first world
war and the fall of the royal houses of Germany,
Russia and Austria-Hungary. The tragedy of so
much needless and futile loss of human life, in the
pursuit of worldly power and dominance is laid bare.
King Edward VII speaks some prophetic words
(in 1907, to his foreign secretary, Sir Edward
Grey), that the more certain the leaders are of
where they want to go, and how to control events,
the more certain the opposite outcome seems to be.
No leader of any of the powers wanted the
dreadful carnage which ensued, yet inexorably events
unfolded to the ultimate destruction of all.
Why? Because hegemonic power and
self-interests were at the heart of every decision
made, and often done so in folly, against common
sense, common good and total lack of consideration
of the needs of others. The amount of
self-deception at work in the individuals who held
the levers of power was breathtaking. Unfortunately,
not much has changed today - and you could
reasonably argue that things have actually got
worse. The killing power of armed forces has
The kingdoms which fell - the eagles (so called
because of the family crests of each of the royal
houses), manufacturers of their own destruction,
(and of course the people of those lands Ė the
Russian royal family murdered by revolutionaries),
were not in the image of Godís kingdom.
Lukeís Gospel today talks of Godís kingdom - this
being the opposite of worldly kingdoms. Jesus
tells his disciples to cure the sick and to then say
to them that
Ďthe Kingdom of God is very near to youí
The power of God is passed on to the disciples, and
they are entrusted with the power to do only good -
to cure the sick and preach the Gospel.
The tricky part for the disciples, and ourselves as
Christians, is to wield power only for good.
How easy to is to deceive ourselves that we
are doing the right thing, when we are doing the
wrong thing. Self justification, telling
ourselves that we are doing something for one reason
when in reality we are doing it for another.
We may not have the power to send armies out,
our power may be limited, but we each have a
responsibility and sphere of influence.
It is not only our power, but our dependence on God
which Luke is talking about. If we put our
faith in God, and we listen to the Gospel ourselves,
then our whole understanding of life and the kingdom
of God changes. Then we realise our tendency
to make poor decisions and judgements, and perhaps
stop in time to listen to God and make the right
The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.
The fruits of this harvest are when we see good in
the world. It could be the work of Christian
Aid, the Waterloo Partnership, Medecins sans
Frontiers - where the volunteer doctors go out to
war zones and places of extreme hardship, to give
medical treatment and healing to the people there.
In a smaller way - it could be not saying
something nasty or mean to someone or about someone.
Where we recognise the sanctity of life in all
its forms, to live and let live. Not to covet,
or do harm.
Jesusí instructions to the disciples, to take no
food or money, and to depend on the hospitality of
the people, is where he is setting the ultimate
challenge - to put faith in God, to be the
undefended leader, to be vulnerable. It also
means, of course, that the disciple runs the risk of
being exploited, or becoming too dependent upon the
people he visits. It is therefore a constant
battle for the disciples.
Where the disciples are not made welcome, they are
instructed to walk away.
The ultimate destruction for those towns which
reject the word of God is foretold. For these
are places where peace cannot reside.
Peace is to be our goal - to live in Godís way and
to seek his ways of peace. Through peace there
is healing. I will end with this prayer of St
who inspired Your servant Luke the Physician to set
forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of
Graciously continue in Your Church the love
and power to heal, to the praise and glory of Your
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.