By Lilly Lewin
What does the wilderness look like in your life right now? Is it trying to work in the isolation of Covid-19? Is it managing kids in virtual school, or is it the harshness of the weather? The brokenness of relationships? Living in the frustrations of politics or the injustices in our world? How are you experiencing “wilderness?” In Mark 1, Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan River and then he is SENT BY, COMPELLED BY, the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. I think in my growing up years in church, I didn’t really pay attention to how Jesus got out into the wilderness. I just knew that he was out there for 40 long, lonely, hungry days. And while he was there, the devil decided it was the perfect time to tempt him. Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message, says that Jesus was PUSHED out into the wild by the same Spirit who had just reminded him that he was God’s son and just how loved he was… and how pleased God was with him even before he’d ever done one thing in his ministry! Do you ever feel like you are being PUSHED into the wilderness? Do you give the Holy Spirit credit for this or do you blame someone or something else?
Are you willing to receive the wilderness as a gift from God rather than a curse?
Read Mark 1:9-15 THE MESSAGE
At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”
At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.
After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”
I love that Jesus wasn’t really alone in the wilderness. He had the Spirit with him, but also, the animals and the angels!
We are not alone in the wilderness either. We, too, are invited by the Spirit. And it is in the wilderness that we discover our calling and learn so much more about ourselves.
Who has helped you and been your companion during these wilderness days?
What have you learned in the Wilderness Desert of 2020 and 2021?
Take some time to thank Jesus for all he has taught you. Even the hard things. And take time to thank him for your companions, even your animals!
Like the push of the Holy Spirit, I want to invite you to join us, myself and Christine, on a journey into the wilderness on RETREAT next Saturday, March 6th. If you sign up, you can REGISTER to participate on the day, or choose to participate later when you have a couple of hours to set aside as wilderness time.
We will have time to consider and look back at the last year and all its desert experiences. We will have time and space to pray, journal, and create in collage. So find your journal and block off a couple of hours to find refreshment as we journey towards Easter.
Bring with you a kitchen sponge/dish cloth, a rock/stone, paper, crayons, pens/markers, some old magazines and scissors, glue or glue sticks, a bowl of water, a red pen and some bread to taste. We call these things PROPS to Pray with and our time together will be interactive and multi-sensory. Why not invite a friend to journey with you?
i just realized
that in my imagination
the wilderness is always somewhere else;
a foreign landscape i actively have to enter in the act of being faithful.
the wilderness is always where i am
and faith is the courage to stay with it
when i’d rather pretend i am
~ written by Cheryl Lawrie and posted on [hold this space].