Sunday, June 7, 2015

Flying in Formation

Today was one of those magical days….an introduction to summer with a promise of more to come.  It was a day of skin warming and eye blinding sunshine (without my shades); flowers are blooming and the world is absolutely bursting with life.  Charlie and I took a bike ride out into the countryside and at a park on the edge of town we saw a flock of turkeys.  They were awkwardly funny as they waddled into the bushes to veer away from our bikes!

And then there are the geese, such dirty birds but a part of the landscape none-the-less.  I have a wonderful story from an unknown author to share today and it’s called, “THE GOOSE STORY”.

“Next fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way.  It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.  By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.  People who share common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.  If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.

When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.  It pays to take turns doing hard jobs.

The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.  An encouraging word goes a long way.

Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by a gun shot and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him.  They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with the group.  If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.”

I love this story because it points us to what true Christian community should look like.  It is a great word picture.  Through the years God has gifted me with many “geese” with whom I have shared my journey.  They are and have been women who share(d) a common direction, who have rotated in and out of the lead, who have “honked” their encouragement through prayers, notes, meals, phone calls emails and their presence. 

I have had times of woundedness and sickness (in many forms) and have had to fall out of “formation”; always there was at least one “fellow goose” (if not several) who took time to fall out of formation to tend to me and protect me.

Recently God has been calling me to stretch and grow in my trust in and reliance on Him.  I have been so thankful for wise counsel, prayers and very real time others have spent with me as we “fly” together on this journey called life.

My geese are known by many names: Linda, Gayle, Alayne, Michelle, Tommie (a “she”), Wendy, Joani, Ashley… many beautiful geese I can’t begin to name all whom God has brought alongside me through the years.  Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times.”  Acts 2: 42-47 describes the early church, a beautiful picture of Christian community.

I hope the next time you see geese flying in formation it will cause you to stop and thank God for His encouragement through nature and the creatures He created.  And you may want to offer up a prayer of gratitude for the “geese” that fly in formation with you.  And, for goodness sake, if you are flying solo, it’s time to join up with others.  Who knows, you may be needed to create an “uplift” for another!  Happy flying!

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