Lent: A Wilderness Season of Losing & Finding

by susan on February 20, 2020

Barring times of recreation & solitude, the wilderness is a place we tend to avoid. Barren, dry, empty spaces can lack the comforts & conveniences of home. They can feel void of meaning & significance.

Yet, wilderness can be one of the most formative places we travel.

According to scripture, despite the harsh conditions & all the wandering & complaining, the wilderness was a place of community formation for the Israelites as they escaped the grips of the Egyptian empire. They learned a new way of life there – they learned to live on enough for each day. It was in the wildernss that Jacob wrestled with God and it was there that Jesus withstood the temptation to prove his power.

Wilderness may not be as barren as its made out to be.

The wilderness is not just a physical place, though. It’s a also a metaphor for the difficult spaces on our journey – some that we choose to enter & some that we would never choose. Seasons of life, crises we face or decisions we make can land us in wilderness-like spaces.

The season of Lent has a lot to do with wilderness. Designed to imitate the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, Lent includes the 40 days (minus Sundays) between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is the season that we are invited to enter instead of avoid wilderness. We are encouraged to embrace discomfort, instead of letting it be a deterrent…trusting that there is life there.

After living it up on Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day or Fat Tuesday), on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26th), we come together to acknowledge our own mortality & are asked to do some serious self-reflection. We are invited to stop by the Karpeles between 5-6:30 p.m. to make space to enter Lent intentionally. There is room to consider what, if anything, we might give up, lose or take on trusting that we will find something in return. There will be ideas of habits, attitudes or practieces to fast from or feast on.

During our Sunday gatherings in Lent, as we keep moving through Mark, we’ll journey through the stories & scriptures that led to Jesus’ suffering & death. This Lent, our Sunday gatherings will also look a little different as we make space to hear wilderness stories from some in our community.

Like anything, Lent can be turned into a meaningless ritual. It can be a time where we preserve the appearance of being religious, but miss the move deeper into the essence of Jesus’ way.

Let’s not let that happen. Whether you are with us for part or all of the Lenten journey, find ways to let these 40 days draw you deeper into the life-giving, love-centered & costly way of Christ.

Peace & love,

Susan

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