Yesterday my husband and I took our lunch down to McNaughton park to eat by the river. While we were there a family of geese came by. I have never seen such an enormous family. I counted 20 goslings for Mama goose and Papa goose. I thought maybe they were baby sitting some extra goslings for some other goose parents who were taking a break, but these two parents were very protective any time another goose came near. And besides, I don’t think geese parents loan out their goslings to other parents. So it appears that all 20 goslings belonged to these two goose parents. I didn’t even want to think about that poor mama goose sitting on 20 eggs!
Mike and I watched them for a long time as they walked down to where our car was parked and then moved on down the river edge. Dad seemed to wander near the front leading the flock while mom took up the rear. In some ways the parents hardly seemed to pay attention to their goslings. The little ones wandered with their heads bobbing constantly toward the ground picking up stems and leaves and seeds and bugs. They were hungry. Occasionally one would run ahead or to the side flapping its wings joyfully, but they would always look up, find mom and dad and get back to the flock. Mom and Dad seemed oblivious to their little dears as they wandered until I came a little two close. Then they were hissing and raising their wings threateningly until I moved back… which I did. They were clealry paying more attention than it appeared.
As I watched them I thought about the way God looks after us. We often think about our relationship to God as sheep to a shepherd. We particularly love the story when the good shepherd goes looking for the lost sheep and carries him home. But that story is about the unusual event. Most of the time it would seem that the sheep were supposed to follow the shepherd, to listen for his voice and to come when called. As we remember with joy that God is gracious and seeks us when we are lost and protects us when we are in danger, we need to also remember that we have responsibilities in this relationship. We are also supposed to listen, to follow and to respond to the call of our Lord.
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