Updated: Apr 6, 2019
“In the fall, when you see geese flying south for the winter in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way. It has learned 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% more to the flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag & resistance of trying to go it alone, & quickly gets into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing & another goose flies point. The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gun shots & falls out, two geese fall out of formation & follow him down to help & protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, & then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with the group. If we would have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.”
I cannot take credit for this “author unknown” explanation of geese flight patterns. I randomly picked up a goose-silhouetted handout, years ago, in a print shop. As I read through it, I was fascinated by the instincts our Creator designed in these birds. I decided it was a keeper! I didn’t know, at that time, that we would one day live a block from the lake. For 4 years, we regularly watched the geese signal the changing of seasons. One of our favorite things was observing them directly above our house & hearing their exchange of communication. One time, from the angle I was looking, they looked like gold glitter, in the sky, as the sun shown on them. It was amazingly beautiful!
I can’t help but picture Jesus Christ, flying “point” as the head of His church formation. His members live worldwide, are ethnically diverse, & are united by the one belief/conviction that HE is the ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth, & the ONLY Life. There is no other way to be saved or to enter heaven. (Acts 4:12) Jesus is forever the head of His flying “V’. Victory is first & foremost experienced internally before it’s lived out externally. This is true no matter what challenges you face, or what country you face them in.
Let’s bring the V illustration closer to home & make it personal. How would your church function if you demonstrated goose sense? Where are you in the lineup? Are you creating a resisting drag, as you go it alone, & live aloof? Or are you conscious of the lift provided for you to fly, so you can pass it along to those behind you? As funny as it sounds, what are you honking…truth, love, helpful deeds & endurance? Or do you bring other members of the flock down by gossip, criticizing the leadership, & then making a quick exit when things don’t go your way? Are you an agent for healing and support in tough situations? Sadly, not only do folks sometimes leave fellow believers to die alone, but they often pull the trigger in the first place.
When you set standards for other “geese” that you don’t keep yourself…that’s hypocrisy. Practically, you don’t take responsibility for not doing your part in the lift. This independence truly does drag the church body down. Flesh rationalizes that if only that other “goose” would fly right, your job would be easier. When this pattern happens often enough, there is no longer enough uplift to create the power advantage. Blame-shifting can be a downward, spiraling cycle and the church can’t fly victoriously. The d-r-a-g can even build to the point of the pastor’s resignation &, bingo! The enemy scores again. This is incredibly SAD!
I believe the slow fade from absolute Truth to “what feels good” has led to an attitude of independence & the decision not to be part of God’s V Formation. I love the description of church life in Romans, chapter 12. The church is one body but we are individual members with differing functions. We can still love, be devoted to each other, honor, be diligent, serve, rejoice in hope, persevere in hard times, & be faithful in prayer. And the inspiring list goes on. (Check out all 21 verses.) I think it’s possible to be “at home” & connect like that. I pray to that end. And I pray I will be intentional in my obedience to Christ’s leading. You shouldn’t wait for another goose to do the job designed for you. Stay focused on Your true Point & support His plan for a victorious flight!