Monday, February 7, 2011

“Shall We All Strive To Be Like Geese?”

Each morning when I drive our son Will to school, I pass a small pond that is loaded with geese. Many times I see them high in the air flying around in a perfect V shaped pattern. I am sure you have seen them too. My mind went to a meeting I was in with Rev Teresa Dulyea-Parker, our Regional Minister & President. During the discussion, she mentioned that our churches should strive to function like a flock of geese. To avoid embarrassment, I agreed although I had no idea what she was taking about as my life experience has not led me to study the flight patterns of birds. As you may recall I have been very public about my phobia of birds. But seeing the flock of geese, recalling the meeting, I was drawn to examine the analogy further.

Now I get it and I would like to share with you what I discovered. Flying in the shape of a "v" allows geese to have an equal field of vision while conserving energy, using wingtip vortices to decrease any drag in flight. The bird in the front is working the hardest, but when the leader grows weary it rotates to a position farther back and allows another feathered pilot to take its place. This formation is so successful in conserving energy that birds who fly in "v" formations have been recorded to have lower heart rates than those who do not. If one of the birds flies out of formation, they will feel the increase in drag nudging them back into position. Perhaps most impressive, if a bird in the formation falls ill or is shot, two other birds will accompany it on the descent, aiding and protecting the injured bird until it either recovers or dies. The two helpful geese will then rejoin the formation. Another benefit to the V formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Flying in formation may assist with the communication and coordination within the group. Fighter pilots often use this formation for the same reason.

Now reread the results of my deep investigation on geese and instead of a flock of geese replace it in your mind with people and a church. It is a beautiful analogy of how we should function together as Christ body. We are stronger, healthier, and more productive as a solid cohesive group than we are as individuals. We take turn leading God’s people to Jesus Christ, we descend with those who are in distress and need, we all hold an equal field of vision, take turns pulling the heavy load, keep track of everyone, and have better communication. Together we can travel farther, accomplish more, and stay healthier if we are conscious of our formation. Next time you look up high in the sky and see a flock of geese flying overhead, remember we as the church can learn something from God’s creation.

Maybe we shouldn’t restrict the geese to only the church. What if we all sought out groups of people who will support us in our time of need? The storms of life that have hit me over the past few weeks have reiterated my need for others. While out in front, I have exhausted all my resources. Others have held me, prayed for me, cried with me, and surrounded me with comfort, care, understanding, and forgiveness. While I grieve and deal with my pain, God has placed me in a wonderful flock of family and friends. Maybe I can learn something both about myself and about the strength that comes in unity. I pray you too may never have to fly solo.

Hope to see you soon but until then take care of yourself and one another,

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