“Imagine a hectic procession of revelers – the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind’s eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us.” ― Mary Rose O’Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd
Imagine all that for a minute. Do you want to be there? Then come with me.
This June 26-29, 2014 I will be in Hot Springs, NC for the Wild Goose Festival, a spirit led festival for those who are still trying to figure out what it means to live authentically as Christians in this wild and wonderful world of ours. (By the way, I don’t know that Mary Rose O’Reilly has ever been to the Goose (as it is lovingly referred to by those who love it) but I’ve not found a quote that better describes exactly how I have experienced this festival in the past and how I expect to find it this summer. It is an amazing menagerie of people from all over the country and around the world.)
The Goose gets its name from the celtic Christian image of the Holy Spirit as a “wild goose.” As seekers and practitioners of Christianity, we may find ourselves at different periods of our lives in what can be called nothing other than a “wild goose chase.” We may never catch the spirit in a literal sense, but it is in the chase that we find both ourselves and our companions for the journey.
That’s how I understand the Goose. It’s a time for those of us who write or sing or create beautiful things in the visual arts or speak or play an instrument or enjoy any and all of the above to come together for a time away — four splendid days in the mountains of western North Carolina. There will be singers and dancers, pastors and preachers, sinners and saints, spiritual directors and spiritual practitioners and a time for beer and hymns. There will be worship and times for singing, for listening, for being heard, and for sharing our stories over coffee or food. The blessings of our life together are never more profound for me than in these days together.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I am not getting paid for this, and I’ve already bought my ticket. I just love it so much that I want others to know about it too. And it is likely that they will run out of tickets this year, so buy them now if you want to go. It feeds my spirit, and it just might feed yours too. Plus, I’ll be there, and I’d love to meet you.