Friday, May 23, 2008


I think it’s extremely inventive of God to use metaphors in nature to teach spiritual truth. And the truth “flashes” with me at the oddest times. . .like in a Jeff Corwin show.

Jeff Corwin is often a guest lecturer at the Dickerson Homeschool. One episode shows him flying in an ultralight aircraft with a flock of barnacle geese in France. Here’s the dialog:

What you’ll notice is that there’s a leader in this “V” formation. What that leading goose does is break up that wall of wind to the front. Each of the geese line up alongside. By doing that, the wind resistance to their front is decreasing. Every year, these birds make extreme migration, thousands of miles around the world at up to 6,000 feet above the surface of the earth. What’s incredible to me is how these birds use both instinct as well as learned behaviors for their navigation.

As Jeff talked, I marveled at God’s design for traveling in the “V” formation. The Library of Congress website has more information about that. (Get ready: more spiritual metaphors ahead!)

Scientists have determined that the V-shaped formation that geese use when migrating serves two important purposes: First, it conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, 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. The second benefit to the V formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Fighter pilots often use this formation for the same reason.

So. There’s always a leader out front, breaking up the wall of wind. Each member if the team takes a turn being out in front. When the front-person grows tired, she steps aside and rotates to the not-in-front position for awhile. Every member of the team staggers his/her position so everyone can see each other, keep an eye on each other, look out for each other. Everyone moves in the same direction, yes, but in the “V” formation, the team can migrate far distances at extreme altitudes. Team members use instinct and learned behavior to navigate this travel pattern.

Kinda sounds like what Jesus said at the Last Supper:

Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It's not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant. Who would you rather be: the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner? You'd rather eat and be served, right? But I've taken My place among you as the one who serves. And you've stuck with Me through thick and thin. Now I confer on you the royal authority My Father conferred on Me so you can eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and be strengthened as you take up responsibilities among the congregations of God's people. ---Luke 22: 25-30, The Message

I’m doing some migrating, some shifting, some redirecting. It’s not so terrifying this week as it was last week. I’m actually excited about the new positions in which I’ll be flying for awhile. I’m still Kingdom-of-God building. I’m still moving in the same direction: in pursuit of a Savior Who is jealous for me, Who delights in me, Who is awfully fond of me.

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