Thursday, June 28: “On Eagle’s Wings”

Michael Joncas (born 1951) was ordained in 1980 to the Roman Catholic priesthood and has served since 1991 on the faculty of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. He wrote the hymn On Eagle’s Wings.

This beloved hymn became an instant hit throughout the Catholic churches in America during the late 1970’s. The hymn is based on Psalm 91. It has been performed by Michael Crawford and Josh Groban and church choirs throughout the U.S.

Psalm 91 was either written by Moses or David and attempts to instill a confidence to the reader that God will provide safety to them. Many believe that Psalm 91 is a Messianic prophecy and hints that God will protect the reader at all costs.

Much of Psalm 91 and the song On Eagle’s Wings informs the listener that they will be protected by heavenly beings. It speaks to us about the use of protecting angels and that a hunter’s trap will keep God’s servants from illness, sickness, and the influence of Satan.

God himself is represented as large bird that uses His wings to protect or care for us beneath His wings. The song ends with the promise that God is willing to protect those that are willing to place their trust in the Lord.

Used mainly at funeral services, On Eagle’s Wings is a favorite of many different denominations. It not only speaks to us of a caring, loving God, but also about a God that protects us and delivers us from the evils of Satan. It shows us how caring for others brings them comfort, and that the promises offered to God’s servants can be one of the most soothing moments especially at the end of someone’s life. It is a wonderful gift that God provides to his people, and if we can model this same type of behavior in our lives and in the lives of those around us, we can provide the ultimate experience in one’s life, a feeling of caring. Thank you, God, for showing us what it means to care for one another. Thank you for providing us with protection, “On Eagle’s Wings.”

Terri DeAngelis