Lent 2017 Week 1
THE WANDERING WAY
By Rev. Jennifer Pick
"All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost."
"Jesus returned from the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit,
and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.
There he was tempted for forty days by the devil."
Image: "The Wandering Way" ©Todd Pick, 2017.
PILGRIMS ON A JOURNEY
There is no direct path from where we are to where we want to go, even for Jesus. One moment, he's coming out of the water, called “Beloved” by God. And in the next moment, he's propelled out into the wilderness to determine and discover all that name implies. He is full of the Holy Spirit which then drives him out to a place where angels and demons dwell. Along the way Jesus encounters what we all encounter along the paths of life: temptations to stray from the path that God has intended for us. But “all who wander are not lost.” For it is in the wandering that we find our true selves. While the imagery of wilderness is prevalent, given our starting point of Jesus' forty-day wanderings, we are invited to make a pilgrimage into our own landscape. We move into this season to intentionally explore the earth within our hearts. Lent calls us to an interior journey whereby we explore the shape of our souls, from our frayed edges to the heart of the matter. Sometimes the rocks and thorns on the pathway provide important moments of self-discovery. The things that hurt and trip us are the very places we might want to pause on our journey. You have permission to go slowly, to pay attention to the twists and turns on the way, to turn back to memories, relationships or perhaps dreams long forgotten, to be a visitor on your own sacred ground, and to take off your shoes. Lent is an intentional time of searching, wandering, moving. Sometimes the way is not clear. We should be encouraged that even God’s son wandered and meditated on what path to choose. We should be encouraged that forgiveness and new life await. We should be encouraged that we never walk alone.
PRAYER FOR THE JOURNEY
God of darkness and dawn, walk alongside us through these Lenten days. Hold us close as we look deeply at ourselves, our relationships, our openness to you. Remind us in the wilderness that our hearts are your dwelling place.
Forgive us our foolishness, our selfishness, our self-centeredness. Open our spirits to your leading. Take us―step by step―from who we are to who you want us to become. Fill us again with your Spirit which renews us in your image.
Give us grace and strength to make the changes that are needed in our lives. Let these days be for us a holy season as the rough edges and parched places of our lives become a pathway of prayer.
Through Christ our Way, so let it be.
A hymn text by Rev. Todd Pick
Tune: ST. DENIO | "Immortal, Invisible" (18.104.22.168)
Drenched in God's belovedness, named heaven's child
Raised up from the waters, he left all behind
Descending dove hovered, this holy ensign
Led God-with-us out into unknown and wild
Above wanton waste birds of heaven they flew
A halo of ravens or hawks on the wing
In wilderness weakness some solace to bring
Encircled God-with-us while Satan pursued
Jesus faced the Tempter, three choices he made
To feast on the word; Not put God to the test
To serve God alone with conviction professed
God-with-us refused to let evil persuade
In courage and promise which nothing could steal
Our way, truth and life on this pilgrimage found
The bedrock of being, his center and ground
The heart of God-with-us was wholly revealed
In trial, temptation, we don’t walk alone
Discern in the desert, its baptism claim
“Beloved, turn ‘round and remember your name”
Discover God-with-us is leading us home