Psalms 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7
I had the privilege of traveling to Chicago over the past weekend for the wedding of a friend. Many of the normal wedding "things" seemed to be in order. I was running late and flew in from Omaha one hour before the ceremony. As I arrived at the hotel, the best woman and bride were scurrying out the door, a tad frazzled, to the church. When I arrived at the church, more "normal" wedding activities occurred. One friend was trying to figure out a flower and the pins that would hold it to the groom's father for a couple of hours, someone else was delivering jewelry to another friend who, in a rush, had left it in the hotel, and two other friends were trying to position themselves in places in the church that allowed for the best view, while at the same time, allowed for an easy walk up to the podium for doing the readings. I sat in a pew alone, watched and thought, "Is this the case at every wedding? Is this all worth it? It all seems soooooo WILD." Normally, I am all for life when it gets a little wild, but not when it seems to verge on being chaotic.
And then it happened…
The homily. And all the chaos seemed to have its place, making the chaos of life and the wedding into the actual order. The priest at Old St. Pat's Church, in downtown Chicago, spoke to the couple about "WILDNESS." No way? Yes way. He used the image of wildness to describe the beauty of the couple, their lives, their choices in life (one a Psychiatrist and the other a counselor for high school students), and the way that God tapped into their lives through these factors. He spoke of two sides of wildness. The one side leads to adventure, to risk-taking, to unleashing a love in them that they share with one another and the rest of the world. He also spoke of a darker side of wildness that can lead people to destruction, fear or disorder. He brought these together with the simple idea that the two sides are not far from one another. The beauty and light of allowing ourselves to be wild, and the ugliness and darkness of allowing ourselves to live wildly, may begin to blur if we are not careful. What we may imagine to be fun and carefree and wild, may also be destructive and hurtful to ourselves, our partner, or to the rest of the world. So, how do we know the difference?
The priest suggested that where there is a closeness to God, there is also a desire on our part for completeness and wholeness, equaling health. Without that closeness to God in their marriage, the dark side of wildness might creep in.
As I read today's first reading from Acts, the same image came to mind. There was a "wildness" in the towns of Samaria and Judea. The church was being ravaged, people were being imprisoned, and there were possessed people and unclean spirits. And yet, in the midst of that, Philip brought from that darker wildness, a much lighter wildness. He brought forth joy. The reading ends with the line, "So there was much joy in that city." I think we all know the wild abandon, the free-flowing wildness that comes from our beings when we experience joy. That is what Philip brought to the people by bringing them closer to God.
Let us enjoy our wildness this Spring. Let us enjoy the beauty
of expressing our wild sides that God created in us. Finally, like
that newly married couple, we remind ourselves to keep God a part of that
place in our lives so we can enjoy the creative side, rather than the destructive
side, of our wild selves.
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