Hi people. It's good to be back after a week.
Let me introduce you to the Wild Goose.
Did you know that, in Celtic Christianity (early Christianity in what is now Ireland and Great Britain), the Wild Goose was a symbol for the Holy Spirit? Fascinating, I know. Bear with me...
As boring as this may initially sound, let me tell you: I have a revelation in store for you; it might rock your world. And it all popped into my head this week- in the midst of crazy, chaos-filled, September, back-to-school frustration!
The Celtic Christians (we think) considered the wild goose to be a symbol of the Holy Spirit, which is interesting (yes it is!) to us, because we often associate the Spirit with a dove, or something equally as peaceful. But, the Celts were on to something with the use of this bird, because in days like these it's difficult to think the Spirit is anywhere to be found.
Let me explain...
We've been going bonkers at church trying to get programming off the ground. We plan things and either a bunch of people show up (wonderful!) or hardly anyone (major bummer!). We're having a hard time knowing if we're asking too much of people, or not expecting enough. We are also considering the fact that we might be offering too much, which is quite possible.
In any case, as a staff, and as individuals who are trying to transition from summer to fall, and everything that goes with it, we've been feeling a little spiritually depleted.
The image of the Wild Goose brought to mind the geese that I see on a regular basis. They're usually in some disgusting little batch of sewage water on the side of the road near a strip mall. Their natural habitat used to be there, but now it's been overtaken by the busyness of consumerism and capitalism that surrounds it. Just like the church, peoples' lives are so consumed by choices, and the ability to do other things, that the church has been pushed out of its natural habitat. We're in the world, but not of it. And, it's a weird and anxiety-ridden feeling, at times.
But, none of the craziness is going to go away. So, I thought: time to reframe. Could it be that this chaotic time of year is, in fact, the work of the Wild Goosey Spirit? Is the Spirit trying to tell us something new, push us around a bit, honk loudly at us, and tire us out as we attempt to fly in perfect formation for the upcoming program year? Maybe it's okay to be in the muck on the side of the road because it teaches us something.
I'm learning that in order to find joy in this life, we have to embrace a Spirit like the Wild Goose. One that is unpredictable, loud, annoying, squawking, dirty, and lacks a place in the world. I have to accept this kind of Spirit because, like the Wild Geese, we must fly together and help each other when we're tired in order to get to a better destination for the months ahead. We must be open to re-formation, to let a new goose take the lead, to trust that the wind will carry us, that our wings will not fail us, and that we've done this a whole bunch of times before. And, we have to become comfortable with the uncomfortable- our natural habitat is no longer. The church is being being forced out. And yet, seekers are still coming, if fewer in number. And there is still a stirring among us to move- maybe we just have to fly up?
The Spirit is pushing me. It's challenging me to be open to newness and change. It's telling me to stop worrying about details and numbers, and focus on people who need a good word. It's asking me to stop being upset at the little things, and to start enjoying this frenetic gift of a life.
Embrace the Wild, Goosey Spirit, friends. It might be trying to tell you something.