Come into the wilderness a place of promise and hope


Note: From 1999-2003 Stan Hirsch facilitated the Sunday Morning Forum. He collected a wealth of information. To my delight he archived the material. In the weeks to come we’ll mine this archived material for Supplemental information on our work in the Year B Lectionary. Since space is not restricted, I may add to the original material from time to time. I encourage you to follow the links when given. Come back often, go exploring, keep learning. ~dan

Mark 1:9-13

Quote . . .Lent is a season of great hope, a season of movement into the loving embrace of our Father.

Lent is a time when we are put in mind that we live today in the Kingdom of God, as we shed the distractions in order to see the reality of God’s presence with us. But Lent also is the season that is most usually symbolized by the word “wilderness.” Wilderness always comes across as an unpleasant place, but it is a very frequent setting in Scripture…

The good news about Lent and the wilderness is that it is a time for formation and reformation. It is a time when we can be formed as a people of God and it is a time when we can be renewed in our commitment to Christ…

We are reminded too in the Gospel today that Jesus was not driven into the wilderness by Satan, he was driven there by the Holy Spirit. And at the end we are told that angels ministered to him. The wilderness is not a bad place. It is a place of great promise and hope. It is a place for stripping away of all the old dependencies that tear us down and coming to grips with total reliance on God—a God who loves us and wants for us freedom and prosperity, a God of plenty, a God of love. The route through the wilderness leads us from an unsatisfying life to a life of abundance. But if you are like me, you would just as soon avoid the wilderness because leaving the familiar, leaving the known, leaving the predictable, for unpleasant thoughts, wrestling with what we fear is an altogether inadequate faith to guide us through. We want to avoid the wilderness because it means we have to struggle with hard choices. Choices of temptation. It would be so much easier if we were simply animals of instinct and did not have to make choices. But if we were, we would never be able to embrace each other in love. Nor would we be able to embrace our God with love.

…The wilderness is a place of movement to good. When we go there in the Lenten season, we face the demons of insecurity and time pressures. We face our own demons of hypertension and self-doubt. We also know that we are moving towards Easter, the resurrection and the presence with God. [1]

[1] February 21, 1999, Lent — A Season of Hope, The Rev. Dr. Robert G. Certain

 Image: From the internet–

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (now retired) in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

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