The Geese

This year I have been particularly aware of, and enthralled by, the numbers of geese that have passed overhead, their ragged “V’s” flaking their way through the autumn skies, punctuated by honking, squawks and squeaks. They have a purpose, a goal, intent on reaching some verdant pasture or Scottish loch, and the lead goose heads in just the right direction, navigating by some GPS mechanism that was invented by its loving Heavenly Father long before man claimed the glory. Several early morning flights have been made all the more spectacular by the morning sun, peeping over the horizon, and reflecting from their underbodies, applying a bright yellow glow to their normally dull colours, in stark contrast to the light blues and greys of the morning sky. But there was one strange happening a short while ago – a group of about twenty geese appeared with more of the usual audio accompaniment than usual, but there was no “V”. In fact they were all over the place. They were heading in roughly the same direction, but they kept veering away from each other and then, directly above my head, the group split into two, about five of them flew South rather hesitantly, and the remainder continued towards the East. But there was still no “V” displayed. More of a gaggle than the normal skein or wedge. Too many leaders and not enough followers, I suspect.

I felt God remind me that His design for geese also applies to mankind – we are designed to be led by the Holy Spirit; He knows exactly which way we should go. And as we remain open to His gentle leading we will end up in the right pastures. I smiled at the thought that groups of Christians, the local church or community of faith, will also have its fair share of honking, squawks and squeaks, perhaps voicing complaints over the pecking orders, or who should be lead goose. And one or two, or even a group, will fall away from the rest, setting their own agendas, building their own denominations, preferring to find their own pastures. There will even be leaderless Christians, who have become deaf to the Holy Spirit’s voice, and who flap their way in the wrong direction, sadly unaware of their malfunctioning GPS, and ending up in barren places, or no place at all.

Thinking further about the sun reflecting off the geese’s underbellies, I felt God asked me what I was reflecting. Was it the light from His Son, or no light at all? In John 15:26 Jesus said, “… I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about Me.” So, hopefully, as I embrace the Holy Spirit, those around me will see the reflection of Jesus. And as the geese press on towards their goal, so must we, heading for the “Heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Phil 3:14).

The Bird that Died

So sad. It was lying on its back on the path, at the foot of a lamppost. Its red and pink breast contrasting with the grey of the tarmac. I picked it up. It was dead but no visible signs of injury. I don’t think its demise had happened much before I came along – it had probably collided with the lamppost in the half-light of the morning. But as I looked at the combination of the colours, the black and dark blues, the greys and fawns, crowned with the beautiful fluffy breast of exquisitely merged hues of red and pink I marvelled again about the wonders of our created world. I thought it was a chaffinch but it had a black head and neck, so perhaps was another member of the finch family.

The Bible contains many references to birds, but the one I immediately thought of came from Jesus – in Matthew 10:29, He said, “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” So my feathered friend died this morning, falling to the ground with God’s full knowledge. In verse 31 in the same passage Jesus said, “So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

God’s creation matters enormously to Him. And mankind in particular. He loves us, provides for us, heals our sicknesses, forgives our sins, and is currently making a home for us in Heaven so that we will be with Him forever one day. Jesus said in John 14, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” Anyone troubled today? Anyone battling with the issues of life? Getting close to God will somehow make the problems of life go “strangely dim” as it says in the old song.

My feathered friend is now in the recycling bin; an ignominious end for a created wonder. But as far as we are concerned, trusting Him with our future means we don’t have to worry and fret about where we will end up. Will there be birds in Heaven? I like to think so. They’re too beautiful not to be.