Wild Geese in the City: An Encounter With Creation in the Middle of Detroit

We have to find ways to experience God's beauty in creation no matter where we live—even in a city like Detroit. (cc image courtesy of PinkStock Photos via Flickr).

Can God’s beauty in creation  be revealed even in a “man-made city of steel and smog”?

Rachel Starr Thomson, author of “Wild Geese in the City” writes of the yearly migration of geese through her home city of Detroit. The flocks flying overhead remind her of the “greater world outside [her] own, a world of mystery and beauty….” Thomson writes:

Yet, several times a year, into our man-made world of steel and smog come flocks of wild geese in their migrations. They fly overhead in perfect V’s and gather by the Detroit River, flocks of black-cheeked Canada geese with the occasional white interloper in their midst.

Their arrival makes me aware of a greater world outside of my own, a world of mystery and beauty where God feeds and directs all His creatures for His glory and pleasure. This is the world of sunsets and thunderstorms, of lightning and snow, of the deer that graze boldly along the highway through our city, and the insects that buzz in the summer trees.

Wild geese in the city are a reminder to leave my little world behind, to abandon for a while my careful mental and social and emotional constructs, and to plunge into the wider world God created and said was good—to go and look at it, listen to it, breathe its air, feel its imagination, and worship God in it.

Read the rest of the article at Boundless.org.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Do you live in an urban, rural, or suburban setting? How does the place you live affect your experience of God’s beauty in creation?
  2. How much time do you spend outdoors? How might your life be different if you spent more time in nature?
  3. What are some concrete practices you do to remind yourself of the “greater world of mystery and beauty” outside your own?
  4. Should knowing that a species like the Canada goose is invasive or sometimes a nuisance change our perspective on that part of God’s creation? Where is the balance between appreciating nature and cultivating or altering it so that it thrives as much as possible?

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