by Ken Rolheiser
John 3:16 Goose or Ghost Story

The story is told of an agnostic who didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt: "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!"

One wintry evening a blizzard struck. He heard a loud thump. Near his house he saw a flock of wild geese, lost, and stranded in his field.
He opened his barn door, but the geese just fluttered around in the field. He tried to get them to follow him to the barn, but to no avail. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese and carried it around behind the flock of wild geese. Then he released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn, and one-by-one, the other geese followed it to safety.

He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!" 

In this way God loved the world. He gave us His only Son so that everyone who believes might not perish but have eternal life! (John 3:16). In just the same way as in the goose story, Jesus is saying, “Follow me and walk this way.” 

Our spiritual vision is still not very clear because of the bite we took from that apple when we embraced Satan’s rule instead of God’s way. A juicy temptation comes along and we bite into that Gala apple. Then we ask ourselves, “What the hell was I thinking?” 

In the Cherokee culture a grandfather teaches his grandson an important life lesson: “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ that live inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. 

“The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thinks about it for a while and says, “Which wolf wins?” The grandfather replies, “The one you feed”.

The two wolves represent two conditions we are prone to in our weak human nature. The evil wolf fills us with fear, and the good wolf fills us with courage. In the situation of fear we lack courage for action, while in the state of courage we go out to conquer. 

This hardly seems like a choice! Courage will lead us to follow our dreams and to express our love fully, whereas fear takes away our powers. 

It takes faith and courage to believe our salvation story. We can choose “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus” instead of the devil’s “law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

In The Pirates of the Caribbean Elizabeth, the damsel in distress, tells the pirate captain, “I hardly believe in ghost stories any more.” Captain Barbossa tells her, “You best believe because you are in one.”

Through Baptism we have God’s life in us. We are sons of God and brothers and sisters of Christ. We best believe in the spirit.
“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.” — Carl Jung
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