Bethlehem Lutheran Church

The Heart of Bay Ridge
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Sunday Service 10:30am
4th & Ovington Avenues
Brooklyn NY  11209
718.748.9502
Rev. Paul H. Knudsen
Pastor Paul's June Message
Bethlehem Lutheran Church ®  |  4th & Ovington Avenues, Brooklyn NY 11209  |  718.748.9502
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)


Dear Members and Friends,

​In my Christian Living class this week, we read “The Parable of the Eagle” by James Aggrey. This short parable is powerful and prompts us to reflect. Below are excerpts from this wonderful story.

A certain man went through a forest seeking any bird of interest he might find. He caught a young eagle, brought it home and put it among his fowls and ducks and turkeys, and gave it chickens’ food to eat even though it was an eagle, the king of birds. Five years later a naturalist came to see him and, after passing through his garden, said: “That bird is an eagle, not a chicken.” “Yes,” said its owner, “but I have trained it to be a chicken. It is no longer an eagle, it is a chicken, even though it measures fifteen feet from tip to tip of its wings.” “No,” said the naturalist, “it is an eagle still: it has the heart of an eagle, and I will make it soar high up to the heavens.” “No,” said the owner, “it is a chicken, and it will never fly.” They agreed to test it. The naturalist picked up the eagle, held it up, and said with great intensity: “Eagle, thou art an eagle; thou dost belong to the sky and not to this earth; stretch forth thy wings and fly.” The eagle turned this way and that, and then, looking down, saw the chickens eating their food, and down he jumped…So the next day he took it to the top of the house and said: “Eagle, thou art an eagle; stretch forth thy wings and fly.” But again, the eagle, seeing the chickens feeding, jumped down and fed with them…The next morning he rose early and took the eagle outside the city, away from the house, to the foot of a high mountain. The sun was just rising, gilding the top of the mountain with gold, and every crag was glistening in the joy of that beautiful morning. He picked up the eagle and said to it: “Eagle, thou art an eagle; thou dost belong to the sky and not to this earth; stretch forth thy wings and fly!” The eagle looked around and trembled as if new life were coming to it; but it did not fly. The naturalist then made it look straight at the sun. Suddenly it stretched out its wings and, with the screech of an eagle, it mounted higher and higher and never returned. It was an eagle, though it had been kept and tamed as a chicken!

After reading this parable, my 8th graders had to write a short essay on one of the following statements. I told them to pick the one that resonated with them the most.
  • You become what you believe you are.
  • We often become what people tell us we are.
  • Your beliefs determine what you accomplish and what you become.
  • People like their comfort zones so much that they don’t actually live or achieve their dreams.
  • Human potential is blocked by fear and lack of knowledge.

I realize that you are not 8th graders with a class assignment, but how about a little reflection on your part. If this assignment was yours, how would you respond? During this long Pentecost season, our Sunday morning scripture passages provide lessons on living the Christian life. Are we stifling God’s Spirit by believing we are less than we are? Are we accomplishing less because others are telling us we can’t? Are we too content in our comfort zones or has fear kept us from serving our risen Lord? Have you failed to realize your true potential? God knows you are an eagle. Do you?

In God’s Service,