The Wild Goose
The month of May brings us into an important chapter in the Christian Church year with the day and season of Pentecost. Pentecost is a celebration of God still speaking, working and breathing life into creation. In this season we lift up the person of God as Holy Spirit. One of the texts shared each Pentecost Sunday is from the 2nd chapter of Acts. It tells of the Holy Spirit among the early Jesus followers. The Spirit descended as tongues of fire and a roaring wind. It is again a reminder of how God is not constrained, but breaks free and moves among Medes, Elamites, Parthians, Jews, visitors from Rome and the list goes on. The Spirit of God moves among people of all sorts of faith traditions, backgrounds and languages.
The images in scripture of fire and wind speak to the power of the Holy Spirit. Another image that comes from Celtic Christianity is of a bird. The dove is a symbol for the Spirit in scripture. However, the Celtic Christian tradition is drawn toward the image of the Holy Spirit as a wild goose. Wild geese are loud, untamed, and not controllable. Sometimes they are a bit scary. I have done some quick maneuvering away from geese at the Wildlife Sanctuary and I have to admit I have been startled by how the Holy Spirit is moving. All these images, be that a wild goose, wind that blows inside a closed room, or flames are wild and untamed. These images speak of the nature of the Holy Spirit as something we cannot control, harness, manage, or use for our own purposes. The Holy Spirit of God is going to do what God’s going to do, not what we say or think God should do.
We can fall into the temptation of using God to prop up our own viewpoints. Instead, in matters of church life, home life, work and school we must have a humility to look to the Holy Spirit for guidance. The important questions are “What is God’s Spirit up to?” and “How can I be part of that?”.
As we move into this vital time in the Church year maybe what is most vital for us is to return again and again to the practices of prayer, reading of scripture and time with other friends of Jesus. Lots of other forces are rushing into our lives. Maybe now is the time to be more attentive to the wild, powerful Spirit that brings us life, peace, and hope.
Blessings to you this Pentecost Season,