A Sermon at the Church of Birds


Proper Worship


A hundred Canada geese – Samaritans of the avian world – honk noisy vespers

in the choppy gray water and fading fringe of day, every black beak angled into the unforgiving north wind, contour feathers pressed against each flat-backed body, a host of geese scattered across the bay in some goose-mind grid, they wait in delta formation that tapers to a single leader, as if in flight to part the air washing over those following.


Then, a secret signal and the flock departs in noisy squadrons of ten or twelve, disciples, rising into the molten rose-gold light of sunset pouring into the gap

between cloud base and dark horizon,

between night and day,

between now and forever,

a liquid light that illuminates a framework of bare branches and reveals the structure of neurons and perhaps human relationships throughout the notion of time, and somehow I am connected to Creation in ways not found in formal church.


“So long”, I say to the geese, “Safe travels!” as my gratitude takes flight along with the last wave, and I say “Thanks be to God!” for the gospel of so-called ordinary birds.


- Carolyn Healy (2019)


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