Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday and the Geese

Sunday: The Church had a 50th Anniversary bash starting at 10 and going till 5. I stayed for the whole thing, came home feeling beat up, then off to the hospital. I finally settled at home in time to catch the 10 pm news then crashed. I maintain the church Website, so I have much work to do catching up on it, plus kitchen cleanup, laundry, tending to my garden sprouts, running to the hospital, picking up things Donna will need when She comes home, & etc. The railing for the steps that lead upstairs from the house entrance were taken down to paint a few years ago, then she decided they needed replaced - it never got done. Now I need to get it back up before she comes home so she won't fall on the steps. Did I say that I have difficulty getting around myself, I feel a bit overwhelmed right now.

Back to Geese: My daughter Ellisa tells me she is not a Goose Fan, so whats the big deal with them! (The following is a digest of much material I have read on the subject - little is my original thought, and some might be termed outright plagiarism).

The term `Celtic Church’ is used to describe almost the earliest native form of Christianity in the islands of Britain and Ireland, it dates from around 400. The Celtic Church established itself as the most successful evangelistic movement Britain has ever seen. The Celtic Christians, led by St. Patrick, stood in stark contrast to their Roman Catholic counterparts (although Celtic Christianity was a part of Roman Catholicism, their ways were significantly different). The Celtic Christians were more a “Do as I do” tribe rather than a “Do as I teach” group. This meant that those outside of the Christian faith saw the Celtic Christians living the Christian life and were both amazed and interested in becoming a part of the faith. Conversely, when you think of Christians you know, which of their lives is so attractive that you just can’t stand to not be like them?

Which brings me to the wild goose. The Celts looked at nature and saw God revealed in all His glory and they understood God best when they took symbols from what they experienced. The Holy Spirit was symbolized by the wild goose. Doves were docile and delicate, but the wild goose was untamable, free, and unpredictable. Instead of a soft coo, the wild goose was noisy - it's raucous honk was strong, challenging, strident, unnerving and just a bit scary. And it seemed always to be on the move—on a pilgrimage ordained by the Lord Himself.

In much the same way the Spirit of God can be, demanding and unsettling. Think about the story of Pentecost, and the impression the disciples made on the crowd. During the Festival of Weeks each person was to bring to God a special gift in proportion to the blessing the Lord had given to him. All daily work was to be set aside. The people were to gather and worship and rejoice before the Lord. Who was invited? “You, your sons and daughters, your men servants and maid servants, the Levites in your towns, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you.” In other words, just about everyone was invited. Jerusalem was crowded on that first Pentecost. No wonder so many different languages were being spoken. On that day, the disciples were all gathered together in one room. Suddenly they heard the sound of the wind blowing fiercely. This mighty wind was not blowing outside the house, but inside.

Even more amazing, as the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks like wildfire they all began to speak in other languages. Suddenly those cosmopolitan Jews from various nations of the world were hearing the disciples of Jesus tell their story. And strangely, each of them was hearing the story in their own language. Without interpreters.

And they were both amazed and baffled. “Aren’t these all Galileans?” they asked. Galilee was Hicksville as far as they were concerned. Where did these simple followers of Jesus learn to speak in various languages? It was all a mystery.

Some people, of course, were turned off by all the raucous activity and accused the disciples of being drunk. But they were not drunk. The scripture says simply that the Spirit of God had come upon them. Its one thing for a gentle dove to descend peacefully on Jesus – it’s something all together different when the Spirit descends like a wild, noisy goose!

I can't think of a better description of what it's like to be led by the Holy Spirit than a wild goose chase. When you follow the Wild Goose you'll go places and meet people and do things you never dreamed of. Kids love chasing butterflies and other things, it's almost like we have a chasing gene. It's part of our DNA. We need something to chase. So we grow up and we stop chasing butterflies. But we still need something to chase. So guys chase girls and girls chase guys. We chase academic or athletic or artistic goals. We chase degrees. We chase dreams. Then we graduate and we chase positions.

And then something happens: we stop chasing and start settling. The problem with that is this. Proverbs 29:18 says, "Without a vision the people perish." In other words, when you stop chasing your God-given dream you start dying! We need something to chase. It's the way God has wired us. But too many of us stop chasing or we're chasing the wrong thing. You were created to chase the Wild Goose. Anything less than chasing God is settling for second best.

A life following in the tailwind of the wild goose. That’s the kind of life that calls to our innermost being and awakens the lethargic longings within. The problem is, I know few Christians who have discovered the flight path.

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