Saturday, August 10, 2013
A Wild Goose in the Clouds
Traveling through Virginia on my way to Hot Springs, North Carolina for the Wild Goose Festival the landscape was alternately marked by remembrances of war and crosses. Nearly every one of the early exits pointed to the site of some Civil War battlefield. The ones that didn't included the homes of war generals and the national D-Day Memorial. Then there was the museum dedicated to the history of the army with assault helicopters and tanks littering the lawn along the highway. The numerous crosses along the way that ranged from actual size to mammoth provided a counterpoint that was surprisingly not comforting. Instead of the clearly intended message of God's victory, I instead couldn't help thinking about the victim of that extremely cruel implement of torture and the humans who used it to kill Jesus. My perspective was influenced by the fact that it was August 6, the anniversary of the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The words of one of the crew of the Enola Gay later recorded in his diary echoed in my soul as I rolled down Interstate 81, “My God, what have we done?”
At my destination, the weather was overcast, but that didn't prevent identifying an unseen Canada Goose as it honked its way across the sky over my head. That got me thinking about the way that the Holy Spirit, like a wild goose, shows up unseen but clearly present, clearly moving, clearly calling us on even through the clouds. If I continued to focus on the harm we humans are capable of and the potential for inflicting suffering that we possess then I will remain too heavy to fly to the places God is calling me. The Wild Goose Festival is a gathering of a tribe that in many ways doesn't know it even is a tribe yet. I know that my time here will be filled with inspiration that many presenters have come to impart as well as reconnecting with some of the people I have previously met on this journey. It will also be a time when I can share the joys and struggles of my story as an invitation to others to glean from it anything that is useful to them. And though I cannot say what the encounters or who the people will be that will become revelations to me of the presence of the Wild Goose, I am equally sure that that will happen. That is the manner in which faith assures us of God's presence in the world. If we are to be Christ's body in the world today we must expect that God is to be found in the other and that we each are a vital, integral part, so be better be fully who God made each of us to be.
So that also means that the good folks of the Commonwealth of Virginia who still study war or who plant huge crosses in their fields are part of this broken body of Christ that we need to re-member. The Wild Goose Festival is just a start. This glorious feeling we get in knowing the blessing of coming together despite our past differences and even coming to celebrate the diversity of opposites members that make for a complete body is the fuel needed to complete the work set before us by our wild and loving God. May we be those people we know we can be and be the builders of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. May we some day behold that fully alive, resurrected body of Christ animate by the love we share and show and be able to transform the lament of “my God, what have we done?” into the celebration, “our God, look what we have done!”