On Eagles’ Wings was the hymn that Josie and I were asked to play at my 100 year old grandpa Joe’s funeral, just one month prior to her own passing. How ironic. And not only that, but on our last morning together, as I was driving her to school, we were discussing our musical future together—we had great plans! I jokingly told her that I didn’t want to be known as “just a funeral musician.” Her funeral two weeks later would be one of the greatest musical fanfares I had ever experienced, with numerous instructors and friends graciously sharing their musical talents with the hundreds that had congregated for her send-off. I, however, was not one of those musicians. I simply could not. I was far too broken. I will be forever grateful for those who did play…..
I can only explain the grace of God since her passing as if I were riding “on eagles’ wings.” It is a miracle to me that I have made it this far. I know it is not by chance. My Father in Heaven has helped me every step of the way. I know He will continue to do so.
This hymn has proven to be one of His tender mercies for me. I had not really noticed until just now. I have reminisced quite frequently about our last performance together, but only now have I truly contemplated these words and how they carry a very personal message for me.
Josie and I worked very hard on our arrangement. Neither of us were familiar with the hymn, and then we had the task of making it work for a violin/guitar duo. It came out lovely. She played the melody on her violin, of course. I wish I could say I had a recording, but thankfully somehow a cousin managed to capture an image of us playing during my grandpa’s service. That image means everything to me now, but the memories of how we felt playing together that day is what will be most carefully tucked away, in the deepest corner of my heart, forever.
On Eagles’ Wings
by Michael Joncas
1. You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord
who abide in His shadow for life,
say to the Lord: “My refuge,
my Rock in whom I trust.”
2. The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
and famine will bring you no fear:
under His wings your refuge,
His faithfulness your shield.
3. You need not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
though thousands fall about you,
near you, it shall not come.
4. For to his angels He’s given a command,
to guard you in all of your ways,
upon their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun
and hold you in the palm of His hand.