So, how many of you saw the title of this week’s LivingRoom lesson and thought – okay, this is going to be about traffic! That would be a good guess, although there’s been a lot less of that to worry about these days with the Shelter-in-Place and social distancing orders we’ve experienced.
But, no, actually today’s lesson is about geese. You’re probably thinking that sounds pretty random – but there’s a pond at the back of my neighborhood that I pass by on my daily walks. Last week, I noticed that a pair of geese (a goose and a gander to be exact) had some new arrivals!
We often see geese around Peachtree City. In fact, they can be a bit of a nuisance. They poop everywhere – and they are a little aggressive when they are looking for snacks! But these little goslings were really cute and the smallest I’ve seen. They were so new that they were still bright yellow! I am a “softy” when it comes to most animals, especially baby ones. As I was considering what message to share with you today, I remembered a couple of stories that the pastor at our former church in Nashville told about geese. It turns out that these loud, sometimes obnoxious creatures can actually teach us a thing or two about how to be helpful and positive members of a community.
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
While there are many reasons that geese honk, did you know that when you hear them honking while flying in formation, most likely you are hearing the geese in the back of the group? Do you know why? Well, they honk because they are encouraging the lead geese to keep up their speed. They are helping the group fly in rhythm with each other and make it to their destination.
People can be quite the “honkers” too, don’t you think? I’m sure we’ve all known people in our lives that honk at others all the time – but not in an encouraging way. Rather, they make a lot of noise to criticize, point out our flaws, or to make a big deal of their own successes by comparing themselves to others. Instead, let’s be like the geese, using our loudest voice to express words of kindness and support to each other.
To ponder: What kind of “honking” have you heard lately? How have you used your voice to express support and kindness to others?
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Did you know that if a goose gets sick or hurt, two other geese will leave the formation with it? The two healthy geese wait with the injured one until it either heals. That way, they can protect each other when they launch on their own or return to the group.
To ponder: Do we have people we can count on like those geese in our lives? Are we willing to be that support person for someone else who is struggling? What does that look like during this time when so many of us haven’t seen friends (and even some family members) face to face in so long?
We have such a strong community of love and support at Fayette Pres. In our short time together, I have seen so many examples of members of our church taking care of one another, reaching out to one another, and making sure that people don’t feel like they are “flying solo,” especially when those tough times come.
As members of that community, we are here for you as well. So know that even when your school year hasn’t turned out the way you planned – or even if you’re facing an even greater challenge in your life – your church loves you and wants to care for you
I keep you all in my prayers and I hope we can be together again soon.