Greystone Baptist Church celebrated the Easter holiday by welcoming some guests of a very special variety. The advent of Spring brought dogwood blooms, the first green shoots in the community garden boxes, and a pair of Canada geese to the church grounds. Soon after Easter Sunday, it was discovered that the pair had selected the preschool playground as the perfect site for their nest. As Mama goose went about the work of laying her eggs, Papa took seriously his duty to protect his brood, warning all passersby with hissing and flapping of wings that no one would get between him and his growing family. The Greystone community responded by establishing a perimeter of protection (both for the incubating eggs and our parishioners) and settling in to wait alongside the expectant parents. While resident nesting geese pose a special kind of challenge for a congregation and preschool meeting several days a week, our two families have established a mutual respect, if not mutual admiration. The faithful and the feathered have carved out a path for peaceful coexistence.
At Greystone, we follow the liturgical calendar, observing Easter for a season rather than just one day. Easter Sunday marks the first day of a festival season spanning 50 days and concluding with Pentecost Sunday. During these seven weeks, we celebrate the joy and the hope of the resurrection and reflect on its impact on us as individuals and as a church. We consider what the news of the risen Christ means for our world and examine how we move through it with that hope for new life in hand.
As we journey through the Easter season, we do so with an eye toward Pentecost, when we will commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. On Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate God’s gift of the Spirit which moves and enables us to do God’s work in the world, to fulfill our purpose as disciples and as the Church.
While in many traditions the Holy Spirit is symbolized by a dove, in the Celtic Christian tradition, the wild goose is symbolic of this often enigmatic gift bestowed upon believers. It seems fitting that, during this season of celebrating the resurrection, Greystone would have resident reminders of the promise of new life. As we watch and wait for the first egg to hatch, we can also anticipate with great joy the ways in which God will use us to bring hope into our community and our world. Perhaps it is also fitting to be reminded, as we approach Pentecost, of the untamed nature of the Spirit and the sometimes wild and unpredictable ways it calls us to live out our faith.