Wind Chimes: 11 Dec 2012

Night descends upon the wilderness

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.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“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

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Image: James Brown and posted by Indian Country Today Media Network on Facebook

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–