Mother Eagle, teach us to fly;
now it’s time to try our own wings.
Show us how to reach to the sky;
take us where our spirits will sing.
Mother Eagle, lift us up high;
with your help we never will fear.
New adventures we want to try;
give us faith and stay ever near.
Mother Eagle, teach us to fly!
Mother Eagle, lift us up high!
Help us to try what we’ve never tried before!
Mother Eagle, watch us do more!
Mother Eagle, watch us do more;
see us stretch to all we can be.
Far above the clouds we can soar.
Look! We’re flying happy and free!
Look! We’re flying happy and free!
Look! We’re flying free!
Music: Larry E. Schultz
Words: Jann Aldredge-Clanton
David Clanton, “Blaze of Glory” & photos of Imagine God! music camps
Pam Allen: drawings of Biblical Divine Images & Mother Eagle and Young
Recorded and Produced by: The Lodge, Indianapolis, IN
From Imagine God! A Children’s Musical Exploring and Expressing Images of God
(Choristers Guild, 2004).
Among the powerful Female Divine images in the Bible is Mother Eagle. Deuteronomy 32:11-12 depicts Deity as a Mother Eagle who stirs up Her nest to get the eaglets out on their own. This is a beautiful picture of a loving Creator, caring and nurturing us as we grow, and always aiming at the goal of our becoming all She created us to be.
“See us stretch to all we can be,” a line in my Mother Eagle song (above), has important personal meaning for me. Growing up, I got messages from my church and culture that women weren’t meant to be that much. This patriarchal culture put strict limits on possibilities for women. The ideal for women was to focus on domestic life. If we ventured out from the home, we could be secretaries, nurses, or teachers. If we wanted a role in religion, we could be missionaries, but certainly not pastors.
It never occurred to me to question these messages about what women could and could not do at home or in church and society, until I read All We’re Meant to Be: A Biblical Approach to Women’s Liberation, by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Nancy A. Hardesty (now in 3rd edition). In this book I discovered more than enough biblical support for gender equality in the home, in church leadership, and in all areas of life. In addition, this book introduced me to the “radical” idea that God might be more than male. Although Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique had come out more than 10 years earlier, I’d never heard of the book or raised any questions about women’s traditional roles. The call to gender justice could reach me only through the Bible and interpretations of it.
My mind and spirit began to stretch so that I could imagine new vocational possibilities. I was than receptive when the Spirit called me to pastoral ministry, that soon included social justice activism and writing on gender equality.
The beautiful biblical picture of God as Mother Eagle continues to empower me, and I offer it to you for inspiration and renewed hope. God is like a mother eagle that teaches her young eagles to fly and to hunt their own food. When the little eagles are old enough to leave the nest, their mother shakes the nest and flutters her wings over them. Then she takes them on her wings to teach them to fly. When she thinks they are ready, she swoops down to let them fly on their own. But she stays close enough to swoop back under them and help them when they become too weary and weak to continue flying on their own.
Mother Eagle has helped me to stretch to all I can be in ways beyond what I could have imagined. She helps me to try new adventures in my creative writing and social justice activism. I’m in awe of all She has helped us accomplish through Equity for Women in the Church, New Wineskins Community, and Christian Feminism Today, and inspired by visions of new possibilities as we soar together with Her. But as most social justice advocates will acknowledge, this work is long and hard, and we don’t always see the changes we long for. Sometimes we become too weak and weary to continue. Mother Eagle comes to help, taking us up again on Her strong wings until we’re ready to soar again.
May Mother Eagle help us all to continue stretching to all we can be. May She help us reach to the sky as we fly happy and free!