Taking a few lessons from Canadian geese

A reminder to use our gifts as members of the body of Christ


“So we, who are many, are one body in Christ.” Romans 12:5

There is a crispness in the air that tells us that whether we like it or not summer is over and the season of autumn is upon us. There is something special about fall in Alberta. From the brilliant colours of the changing leaves to the excitement of a new school year for the children, there is an anticipation of new beginnings and opportunities. And over it all we hear the familiar honk of the noble Canadian goose on its trek south to warmer waters and skies.

I have never understood the expression ‘silly goose”’ My father often called me a silly goose when I tried to do or accomplish something beyond my skills, gifts or abilities. Yet, geese are anything but silly. They work together as a single body. When geese are flying they fly in a ‘V’ formation. The geese take turns leading the group. Scientists believe that by flying in the ‘V’ formation the geese are at least 70% more efficient. (Note there is always one side of the V that is longer: I always thought that had something to do with wind dynamics but it is simply the side that has more geese in it).

Each goose has a different gift or role. Some will lead the group, others are there to honk encouragement to the lead goose. Others will watch for an injured or tired goose that breaks away from the group. When this happens they will accompany it to safety, where they will take the time needed to heal or recover and join up with another group.

So it is with the body of Christ. Some are called to lead. Some are called to honk encouragement, sometimes publicly for all to hear and sometimes privately in prayer. Some are called to be compassionate caretakers and to watch for those that are having trouble keeping up with this thing called life and minister to them. Together something far greater and more efficient can be accomplished. God’s plan is for us to work together, support each other and pray for each other. We are many. We are different sizes, shapes and colours but we are all flying together. Suddenly it doesn’t feel so offensive to be called a silly goose, because I am God’s precious child and a member of the body of Christ. So remember that you are a silly goose too. Honk with pride you are a part of something far greater.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving us all the gifts to be a silly goose. Remind us to use our gifts as members of the body of Christ. Amen.

Virginia Burke is a pastor at Saron Lutheran Church in Clive.