The other day I was on my run/jog on Bollinger School road and I saw a lone goose flying across the sky and I was very concerned. You see geese fly together and they are a community of birds that work together. The famous V-formation is so that each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of them, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. In this way, the geese can fly for a long time before they must stop for rest. It also allows them to keep track of each other. They often are honking to encourage the lead goose since the one in front is using the most energy and working the hardest. Scientist say that when one goose is injured and hurt and can't go on that the flock leave a couple behind to be with the injured goose so that they are not left alone. They leave a couple behind so that if the injured one dies, the remaining geese don't have to fly alone to catch up with the rest of the flock. So when I saw this one lone goose fly and then land in the field I was really concerned that this goose is all alone. In the next 30 seconds, the rest of the geese came into view and I was strangely relieved to see that the one goose was not alone.
We are not geese but humans need other humans. We need other people around us or our bodies and minds start to deteriorate. That is why solitary confinement is such a punishment in prison or sending a kid to their room is a punishment. Scientist have shown that we can be by ourselves for a time but after a certain duration our mental health, and often physical health, starts to decline. If you remember from the movie "Castaway" where Tom Hanks is stranded alone on an island, he found a volleyball and eventually named it "Wilson" so he had something to talk to. He is devastated when "Wilson" floats away on the ocean leaving him all alone. It was a sorta funny in the movie as he talked to "Wilson" like a real human being but it is based on real science. Humans need other humans. We need one another. While our intellect may be deemed superior to geese we have the same need for community placed within us by our Creator. We might think we can go it alone, or that we don't need others, it is a lie. If we are deluded and try to go it alone we eventually learn that we can't be solo flyers for very long.
The same is true for those that are Christians. Christianity is inherently community based and we can not grow in love, grace, or knowledge of God if we go it alone. Christ is the one who instituted the church and called it the Body of Christ. Christ said that we must be part of the church, part of the community, if we are his followers. Or we hear of the power of joining together when Jesus says "When two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them"- Matthew 18:20. We can never be the best Christians we can be when we are doing it on our own. Yes, I know we can experience pain in community and disappointment but the negative consequences of flying solo is much, much greater.
I worry about our brothers and sisters who in the midst of COVID are flying solo. It is already a hard time, and when they don't have community it is even harder. I know that for some they know they need to protect themselves because of underlying conditions and so they haven't ventured out. Yet, how have we reached out (honked) to encourage them? How have we reached out to help in a small way and let them have a break from taking the lead and flying solo and help them to strengthen their weary soul for awhile?
I mean if I worried about seeing a goose flying all alone how much more should I have concern and worry for one of my brothers or sisters in Christ? Yet, I can't do that for all that need it because there are not hours enough in the day or strength within my body to do it. Just like one goose can not always be in the lead as they fly to where they need to go. Yet, I can encourage us as a community to care for one another and make sure that we are caring for one another. As a community we do have enough strength and hours to do this for one another, and especially for those we know we have not seen or heard from. These are the times community matters more than ever. These are the times where someone reaching out means more than you can imagine to the person who is feeling alone. Many of us have been able to get back into some form of our V-formation and have been flying along as COVID has continued. Those of us who have been able to should rejoice but also realize just because we have, there are others who have not been able to. For some of our flock it has been many, many months and while we feel connected they are feeling so alone and weary. Let us not forget we have others that we need to help realize that they are still part of this community, part of this flock.
And if you are reading this and feel like all the other geese have moved on and have left you injured and alone please call me. I hope and pray that none of our flock is in this place but I am never, ever too busy to take a call from you. Do not feel ashamed, or embarrassed ,or that you are not important. It breaks my heart when someone was in need and they say they didn't call because they know I am busy. Yes, I am busy but I always have time for one in our family who needs to know they are not alone and that someone cares deeply about them.
Ok brothers and sisters, lets get into V-formation!!