The Light Shines!
June 26, 2011Walking down the hill from the Wild Goose Festival, I remarked to Tom and others that I knew how Peter must have felt as he walked down the Mount of Transfiguration. It was sad to leave. We had pitched our tent and walked the hills in sandals, cooked over an open fire, shared stories and visions of the kingdom that was being lived among us. It was hard to leave such a place of peace. The teachers were from everywhere. Their messages varied, but their passion didn't. Jim Wallis, Richard Rohr, Phyllis Tickle, Brian McLaren, Shane Claiborne and many others spoke their hearts and their work, then invited dialogue - imagine there were real heartfelt questions on the floor to be wrestled with! There was no dismissal of any person, only the embrace and welcome of all ideas and personal struggles. People of faith gathered at the feet of the teachers hungry for a word of hope and healing for themselves and for the world that has forgotten how to live a life abandoned to God. The common hope for doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly was evident in this gathering where there were no barriers to being the who God made you to be. This was clearly a different place than most church conferences are. There were no power struggles, no pontificating, no harassment of gays, no championing of youth, rather it was celebration of all persons created in the image of God, all persons having value in the Kingdom of God. Old and young, gay and straight, black and white, women and men sat as children listening to a very good story, a story in which we all have a part. For it is God's story of covenant relationship, caring, loving, welcoming everyone and going out from comfort and privilege to give voice and presence to the issues of poverty, hunger, violence that so plague the world. It is a story of Jesus teaching the ways of the upside down kingdom. This Wild Goose is now loose in North America! The fire is burning in a movement of people of all ages to burn away the ego chaff of faith that fills too many of our pulpits and our pews and keeps us so inwardly focused that we too often forget the call to serve and love the least and the lost. This movement will surely impact the church, and it will hopefully impact the politics of hate and supremacy that rule with a harsh hand. The wind will blow a fresh inclusion and a new boldness to stand against all that steals the future to feed the present. The wind will blow the breath of hope to the helpless and whip the haughty to their knees. And prevailing winds of fear-based conservatism will themselves be blown away. Come Holy Spirit. Wild Goose of God, renew the face of the earth. The Light that shines in the darkness will no longer be covered by the bushels of protocol, position, policy, posturing, and pride. The Spirit is unleashed and the flood that is God's hope for the world is rising. The Way, the Truth, and the Life calls through the ages and people are listening. The Light Shines! Praise and thanks to God.