Last night a good friend, Simon, and I were sitting on my back porch talking as the sun was going down. I heard a sound I commonly hear around here as geese flew over. They always fly in a certain V formation and they always honk. It’s as if they are in partnership together encouraging each other on honking, flapping and taking their place as part of the family.
Here are a few observations about geese I found interesting when reading an article about their behavior:
Observation #1: Geese fly in a V formation for greater range of the entire flock. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird following. By flying in V formation the whole flock adds 71% more flying range than if one bird was flying alone.
Observation #2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and quickly gets back into formation to get the lift from the bird in front.
Observation #3: When the lead goose gets tired, another goose takes the point position. Lesson Learned: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership.
Observation #4: The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage the lead goose. We need to be sure our honking is encouraging.
Observation #5: When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese fall out of the formation and follow it down to help protect it. They stay with the goose until it dies or is able to fly again and then they launch out on their own to catch up with their flock. If we have as much sense as the geese, we too will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.
We can learn a lot from a goose!
A huge myth is that you can become spiritually mature on your own. We can only grow in community. If you are not in community then there are at least 58 commands in the Bible that you can’t do.
Community is rooted in very nature of One God who is Father Son and Holy Spirit. The Doctrine of the Trinity reveals that God is a community of love, communication, affection and respect. We are created in the image of this Community God.
God loves you with a perfect love. God’s family loves you with an imperfect love. God’s family is a family of forgiven, dysfunctional people. Our mistakes are frequent and our love is imperfect. But we are still the bride of Christ. Even in the church’s imperfection our spiritual well-being is tied to our submission to her.
For you to grow in your relationship with Christ you simply must be in loving, authentic, accountable, community with God’s people. You should treat the people as if your spiritual-well being is tethered to relationships because it is.
Rom 12:4 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. (Message)
A man had just built a fire in his fireplace on a Saturday morning when there was a knock at the door. To his surprise it was his pastor. The man hadn’t been at church in several weeks so the pastor was stopping by to check on him. The greeting at the door was awkward but produced an invitation to have a seat. In silence they were mesmerized by the fireplace until the pastor stood up taking the fireplace tongs and moved the top log over just beside the fire. Sitting back down they both watched as the fire in the single log slowly died. The pastor got back up and moved the log back into the fire and it quickly lit right back up again. No words were exchanged but the man looked at his pastor and said, Thank you Pastor. That was one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard. I’ll see you at church tomorrow.