John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …
Luke 3:3 NRSV
Even in the dark the chimes sound. Hope? Love? Homecoming? Presence? Peace? Listen. What do you hear?
Each one of us could tell a story about the wilderness. … Our stories would be ones of struggles, ups and downs, highs and lows, stories of being lost and overwhelmed, stories of stumbling, falling down, and wondering when, how, or even if we will get up again.
So begins a homily by one of my favorite preachers, Michael K. Marsh, an Episcopal Priest serving a parish in the Diocese of West Texas. Later he reflects,
The word of God and the wilderness always go together. There’s something about the domesticated places, the illusions of power and prestige, the distractions of the city that separate us from the word of God. The word of God did not come in the empire of Tiberius, the governing of Pontius Pilate, the ruling of Herod, his brother, Philip, or Lysianias, or the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. The word of God comes in the wilderness. That was true for John the Baptist and it is true for us.
Name any wilderness of your life and there will be a corresponding word of God.
I believe you will recognize (perhaps even experienced) the wildernesses he names. i encourage you to read his meditation/homily: A Welcome Word in the Wilderness.
Today I have added a link to his blog: Interrupting the Silence in the side panel. It is my hope that you will find the blog a welcome resource in studying the lectionary and maturing in your journey with Christ.
Think about it
It is much easier, I think, for God to get through our defenses when we’re in a wilderness. —John Lionberger
From an interview of the Rev. John Lionberger on PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly 12/11/2009
Links to online Advent Calendars
Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.
“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.
I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan
Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:
- Camp Stevens — every summer the staff of Camp Stevens (our Episcopal Camp and Conference Center in Julian, CA) leads wilderness trips into the Eastern Sierras. I have been privileged to take part in these trips. And, yes, it is easier for God to get through to you in the wilderness. Your gift will help others, especially the young, begin to discover this truth.
Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent
Image: James Brown and posted by Indian Country Today Media Network on Facebook