Sunday 26th February (Lent 1B)

If we journey into the desert or wilderness, it’s my guess that most of us do so out of choice. Few of us are ‘driven’ into the wilderness. But after his baptism in the Jordan Jesus, Mark tells us, was ‘driven’ into the wilderness where he was tempted Satan. What that might have involved is perhaps anybody’s guess – and both Matthew and Luke each have their ‘take’ on this. There is nothing new in spending time in the wilderness to, as it were, sort oneself out; to clarify and develop one’s commitment to an idea, to a cause, to God — think, for example, the people of the Exodus, John the Baptist(?), the Essenes (the ‘Dead Sea Scroll community’) and later, the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the early church. In one sense we could say that they chose to go into the wilderness, yet in another sense perhaps they were driven.

‘The wilderness’
could be a place of escape.
But perhaps it’s is a time
of being tested;
abilities and gifts,
resolve and commitment
while angels minister to us:
those who intentionally,
or unintended
sustain and support us
and we have the Holy Spirit,
that we might not lose our way.

And we emerge
with stronger commitment, ability, character and faith
to worship you, and to serve you only,
Source of life,
Word of life,
Breath of life.
        © Jeff Shrowder, 2012.  More for Lent 1B…