On Waxen Wings

This beautiful bronze sculpture by Derwent Wood captures a scene from Greek myth. Daedalus, father of Icarus, is shown strapping wings of feathers and onto his son using bees wax and threads, so that they could fly away from imprisonment. Daedalus instructs his son to avoid flying too close to the sea, the sprays from which will destroy the feathers, and too close to the sun, whose rays would melt the wax. While the artist expresses a sense of calm and quiet concentration, educated Victorians would have been aware of subsequent events: Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, and he plunged to his death in the sea.

Daedualus’ plans were clever and might have worked if his son’s pride had not got the better of him. The best laid plans, the cleverest schemes and the most resourceful methods will never get us into heaven. To our deaths we shall always plummet, our pride forever hampering whatever sincere piety we can muster. Thankfully, God Himself became a man to lift us out of imprisonment; on His wings alone may we fly off, on His efforts alone must we trust.

‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Exodus 19:4