Bible and cross

This is my first opportunity to share with the Hutchinson community through the Leader. I am Steve Larson, the new senior pastor at Oak Heights Covenant Church. My ministry started at the church in late August and I moved to the community in September. I am finding Hutchinson to be a very good community with many opportunities.

One of my favorite parts of the fall season has always been observing the migration of birds. Living here in Hutchinson is a wonderful place to see this in all its beauty. As Christians, we can learn important lessons from these amazing birds, and what God has created in their DNA. What is learned through these observations is also why geese fly further in their life times than the magnificent soaring eagle.

The first lesson comes from the fact that they fly as a group, not solo. How often have you looked to the fall sky to see that iconic “V” form of a flock of geese flying south? This aerodynamic formation gives each bird following the leader a lift. The geese at the end of the line are carried along by the work of others.

The second lesson from this formation is that geese continue to change, which one is in the lead position. The leader works the hardest. After a period of time another goose will slip into that place and offer the leader to rest on the work of others. Watch for this change the next time you see a flock flying overhead.

The next great lesson is the honking sound of the geese that you can often hear well before any of them come into view. Scientists who study the flight of geese have found that the honking is from those further back in the formation. They speculate that this is to encourage those in the lead. What a beautiful image of the verse that tells us to, “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1Thessalonians 5:11).

This brings us to the fourth and maybe the most beautiful lesson from a group of flying geese. If one become injured, sick or cannot fly, two others will drop out of formation and stay with that goose until it is able to fly again or has died. At this time they will ascend to the sky and join another flock heading toward their destination. Geese give a wonderful example of Romans 12:15-16. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.”

However, the fifth lesson to learn is of great importance. The flight south and then the return in the spring is not for themselves but for the future generations. Everything that a goose does is for the growth and life of their flock. As churches, this may be the greatest question to ask ourselves. Are we only focused on ourselves? I am so thankful that Christ was not focused on himself, but gave of himself that we might have eternal life. Amen.

The Rev. Steve Larson is senior pastor at Oak Heights Covenant Church in Hutchinson.